Pandor defends decision for joint military exercise with Russia and China

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International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor has defended South Africa’s decision for agreeing to have a joint military exercise in the Indian ocean in KwaZulu-Natal with the two BRICS partners Russia and China.

Pandor made her comments during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who was visiting South Africa.

“All over the world countries conduct military exercises, there should be no compulsion for any country that it can’t conduct them with any of its partners and it’s part of natural cause of relations and we need to explain this to the public.”

The three BRICS countries, South Africa, Russia and China will conduct the joint drills.

Lavrov says this exercise is transparent and has been done before by other countries.

“Our exercises are transparent. We together with our partners have provided information and it’s available of course there will be mixed reaction and there are those who always trying to monopolise the International Relations.”

Ukraine-Russia conflict

Meanwhile, Pandor says South Africa will always advocate for a diplomatic solution in Ukraine-Russia conflict. Lavrov has also insisted that the Kremlin will always count on its good relationship with South Africa.

“South Africa’s desire is that there should be a diplomatic solution and negotiations should be something we all work towards particularly in the context of the United Nations as the premium institution. We hold on to it and as to who mediates the international community should look into and as South Africa we want peace.”

Minister Lavrov says they are also in favour of a peaceful settlement with Ukraine but there are impediments.

“It’s well known that we supported the negotiations early during the special military operation, two delegations agreed on principles. It is well known it was published openly that our American, British and some European colleagues it was too early to deal and arrangement was never visited by the Kyiv regime.”

Lavrov lambasts US Secretary

Lavrov has also lambasted US Secretary Janet Yellen on America’s continued criticisms that Russia is using the food crisis as a weapon.

Western countries have accused Russia of delaying the checking of ships transporting Ukrainian wheat in Turkey.

This comes as the west supplies more artillery and armoured troop transports to Ukraine and is also considering sending heavy tanks to Kyiv.

Russia has agreed to allow grain from Ukraine to be transported via the black sea after the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres made a request for this to happen.

Pandor says it will be important to investigate where the previous tons of grain from Ukraine have been sent to.

Minister Lavrov will also go to the kingdom of Eswatini and visit other African nations.

Dr Pandor host Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov: