South African envoy comments on Israel-Hamas truce
South Africa’s Ambassador to Russia Mzuvukile Maqetuka commented on the Israel-Hamas hostilities and Russia’s grain deliveries to Africa in an exclusive interview to RT on Monday.
Speaking to RT during the Primakov Readings, an international forum in Moscow, Maqetuka said the ceasefire that has been agreed upon by Israel and Hamas "is a positive aspect" in the conflict, because it has resulted in a pause in the death of women and children on both sides.
The foreign ministry of Qatar, which was responsible for mediating the deal, has stated that the ‘humanitarian pause’ in the Israel-Gaza conflict, which had been scheduled to end on Monday evening, has been extended 48 hours.
According to Maqetuka, South Africa has always maintained good relationships with both Israel and Palestine. He expressed hope for the continuation of diplomatic relations with West Jerusalem in the future. He noted, however, that South Africa had withdrawn its ambassador to Israel over its handling of the current conflict.
Pretoria has moved to approach the International Court of Justice to have Israel classified as an apartheid state. Maqetuka described solidarity with the Palestinian people as the “cornerstone” of Pretorias’ present-day policy, presumably alluding to the role of the international community in ending white minority rule in South Africa in 1994.
He stressed that beyond a ceasefire, finding a two-state solution should be the ultimate goal. He recalled the Oslo Accords, which were accepted by both sides in 1993, so that the State of Palestine and the State of Israel "could live side by side."
Maqetuka also expressed gratitude to Russia for its help in addressing food insecurity in the continent, adding that such gestures are welcomed by all African countries, including South Africa.
In mid-November, Russian Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev announced that Burkina Faso and Somalia would receive two free grain shipments by early next month.