President Cyril Ramaphosa has assured Belgian King Philippe that South Africa will continue to use its influence to bring to an end to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Ramaphosa hosted King Philippe and Queen Mathilde for state visit in Pretoria. This is the first state visit by the Belgian monarch to South Africa.
It is aimed at strengthening relations between the two nations and boosting trade, foreign direct investment and tourism.
SA, Belgium strengthen relations:
President Ramaphosa says the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has precipitated a global cost of living crisis. He told Belgian King Phillipe that these are difficult times and reiterated South Africa’s position in calling for dialogue to end the conflict.
“The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine is of grave concern to us all. As South Africa we continue to emphasize the importance of finding a peace solution to the crisis. As you rightly said in 2013, your majesty dialogue and reconciliation can change the world,” says Ramaphosa.
Belgium Foreign Minister, Hadja Lahbib says they are committed to finding a solution to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“On the situation in Ukraine this is a major foreign policy issue for Europe, and it will remain so at least for next month. We are fully committed to help Ukraine defend itself. It’s essential to defend Europe’s security and United Nations charter international principles, we understand South Africa’s choice to remain non-aligned in the conflict, but we look up to you as partner on peace and given your close links with Russia, we call on you to ensure that there’s a path for peace,” says Lahbib.
The Belgium monarch stressed that Brussels values its unique partnership with South Africa.
“We know your country very well, we have a large number of Belgians who live here. It’s between 10 000 to 15 000 people. South Africa is playing an important role representing Africa as G20 and BRICS that you will preside over soon by this visit we want to emphasize collaboration, we need to increase its in so many sectors and we have a strong delegation,” says King Philippe.
Belgium is among the 10 major sources of international tourists to South Africa. The Belgian King and his delegation will also visit Johannesburg and Cape Town to engage with academics, business and civil society.
VIDEO: President Ramaphosa hosts King Philippe and Queen Mathilda of Belgium