RUSSIA — After pulling out of negotiations on a contract to export grain from Ukraine last month, nearly a year after the agreement was made, South Africa is making efforts to convince Russia to resume those negotiations. “We are also working hard to persuade the Russian side to address the Black Sea grain deal and interacting with all the relevant parties to see whether we could find a solution to ensure an opening of the Black Sea initiative,” Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said in Pretoria on Tuesday during talks with her Japanese counterpart, Yoshimasa Hayashi. These comments were made during the course of Foreign Minister Pandor’s meeting with Hayashi.
At a conference with African leaders the week before last, Russian President Vladimir Putin justified his nation’s withdrawal from the grain deal. The leaders’ nations are feeling the impact of soaring food prices driven by Putin’s war in Ukraine and withdrawal from the pact. The summit took place in Russia. The promise of free grain that Putin made at the gathering to six African countries that have strong links with Moscow did not include South Africa. South Africa was not included in the pledge.
A number of South Africa’s most important economic partners, particularly the United States, have voiced their disapproval of the neutral attitude that South Africa has taken regarding the conflict in Ukraine. Japan extended an invitation to a representative of the African Union to attend a G7 summit about three and a half months ago, but they left South Africa off the guest list. Pandor stated at the time to a publication located in Johannesburg called the Sunday Times that she was unsure how “they missed South Africa, but it’s not a big deal.”
During the event that took place on Tuesday, Pandor stated that South Africa would keep working to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ukraine. She stated that “our country remains non-aligned in this conflict because we regard all wars as wars that we should not take sides on.” “Our country remains non-aligned in this conflict”