Africa South Africa’s president raises issue of Palestinian self-determination at UN

South Africa’s president raises issue of Palestinian self-determination at UN

South Africa’s president urged world leaders Thursday to spare no effort in finding a just, lasting and peaceful solution to the Palestinian issue based on internationally agreed parameters enshrined in the relevant UN resolutions. 

“The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination has been raised in this General Assembly for almost as long as this body has been in existence,” Cyril Ramaphosa said in his address during the 76th session of the UN General Assembly.

Ramaphosa said he was raising the issue again, not because he is bound by practice or habit to do so, but because he resolutely believes that there shall be no peace and no justice until the Palestinian people are free from occupation and are able to exercise the rights for which the United Nations stands.

He said world leaders have a responsibility to find a just and lasting solution to the Israel-Palestine issue.

He also said his country reiterates its position that the people of Western Sahara have the right to self-determination in line with the relevant African Union decisions and UN Security Council resolutions.

“South Africa further affirms its solidarity with the Cuban people and calls for the lifting of the economic embargo that has caused untold damage to the country’s economic development,” Ramaphosa said.

He also called for a lifting of the sanctions that are crippling Zimbabwe’s economy.

Vaccine distribution equity

The South African leader also reaffirmed his country’s call for fair and equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines.

“It is an indictment on humanity that more than 82% of the world’s vaccine doses have been acquired by wealthy countries, while less than 1% has gone to low-income countries,” Ramaphosa said.

He added that unless world leaders address this as a matter of urgency, the pandemic will last much longer, and new mutations of the virus will emerge and spread.

“We urge all member states to support the proposal for a temporary waiver of certain provisions of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights at the World Trade Organization to allow more countries, particularly low- and middle-income countries, to produce COVID-19 vaccines,” he told the UN General Assembly.

He warned that in this interconnected world, no country is safe until every country is safe.

“We need to prepare now for future pandemics and work with greater determination towards the goal of universal health coverage.”