/ MEDIA STATEMENT /
The South African parliamentary delegation to the 144th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) has expressed reservations about the resolution adopted by the IPU General Assembly on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, is leading a seven-member delegation of senior parliamentarians to the IPU Assembly, which is currently underway in Bali, Indonesia.
Reacting to the resolution following its adoption by the General Assembly, the South African parliamentary delegation said it was concerned that certain clauses of the resolution would jeopardise the IPU’s role and obligation as an impartial mediator for peaceful resolutions in the conflict.
When the IPU was founded 133 years ago, as the first multilateral parliamentary organisation in the world, its sole purpose was conflict arbitration and peace building.
Addressing the Assembly on the item through its representative, Hon Floyd Shivambu, the delegation said the process of peace building and conflict arbitration required the necessary delicacy and patience to listen to and understand all parties in a conflict, irrespective of how strongly the arbitrator feels about the conflict.
The South African delegation and other like-minded countries succeeded in persuading other sister parliaments to change some aspects of the resolution. However, parties could not find each other on two clauses, which the South African delegation believes undermines the essential principles of neutrality and impartiality that would establish the IPU as a credible mediator for peace.
Said Hon Shivambu: “Whatever the facts are, it will not be wise for the IPU to adopt a combative and accusatory approach, because such will automatically exclude the IPU as an impartial arbitrator. The draft resolution weakens the IPU as an arbitrator, because it depends on information that can be empirically attained through arbitration.”
Through the General Assembly secretariat, Speaker Mapisa-Nqakula along with other Speakers expressed a formal objection to the characterisation of the decision reached on the resolution as “consensus”. “We have stated from the onset that this resolution is divisive, condemnatory, accusatory and may further inflame tensions and escalate an already worsening situation. We have expressed objection to certain parts of this resolution and therefore this must be recorded; there was no consensus,” said Ms Mapisa-Nqakula.
Parliament continues to be concerned about the conflict, which threatens global peace, security and economy, and has called for the immediate cessation of hostilities through dialogue, mediation and negotiations.