On Friday, Ramaphosa engaged in a telephone conversation with Xi and both countries expressed similar views that Ukraine as a sovereign country has the right to decide its own position independently.
“We expressed our concern about the conflict in Ukraine and the need to end hostilities and find a lasting peace,” the Presidency said in a tweet after the call.\
“We discussed the need for humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine, and the plight of African students in Ukraine. President Xi and I also discussed the role Brics and the G20 in promoting a stable international order and equitable global recovery,” it added.
South Africa has repeatedly called for Russia and Ukraine to maintain the momentum of peace talks and resolve disputes through dialogue and negotiations, which has placed government under fire for its neutral stance after failing to condemn the war.
Nato to blame
Ramaphosa on Thursday blamed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) for the conflict in Ukraine.
“The war could’ve been avoided if Nato had heeded the warnings from amongst its own leaders and officials over the years that its eastward expansion would lead to greater, not less instability in the region,” the president said during a Q&A session in Parliament.
He also took a swipe at the United Nations (UN) and certain member states.
“There is a tendency of the most powerful countries to use their positions as permanent council members to serve their national interests rather than the interest of global peace and stability. The UN Security Council needs to be overhauled.”
Earlier this month, South Africa abstained from voting on a UN General Assembly resolution condemning the Russian invasion.
Government said it was the UN’s responsibility to take decisions and actions that will lead to a “constructive outcome” conducive to the creation of sustainable peace between the countries.
Ramaphosa recently had a call with Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin to express South Africa’s support to the ongoing negotiation efforts between the federation and Ukraine.
“We had a conversation, he explained to me what was going on. He also explained to me why they took the action that they took, and he appreciated the position that we have taken of abstaining from the vote.
“And we abstained because the resolution did not address all the issues that would engender and encourage mediation and peaceful negotiation,” said Ramaphosa.
Meanwhile, Deputy President David Mabuza told MPs in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Wednesday that Ramaphosa was open to talking with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky having done the same with Putin.
Mabuza insisted that government won’t turn blind eye on Russia because it is part of Brics, which is an economic grouping alongside Brazil, India and China.
The deputy president also indicated the ongoing war between the two countries was a result of Nato’s expansion towards eastern Europe.