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Zuma outlines SA foreign policy on UN‚ Israel

President Jacob Zuma has outlined South Africa’s foreign policy positions on several international issues‚ pledging to continue “our relentless work to achieve the reform of the United Nations (UN)‚ especially of the security council” at the next session of the world body.

Addressing diplomats in Pretoria‚ he called for the recognition of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.

“Developing countries will also advocate for the reform of the United Nations system to make it more responsive to the interests and needs of the majority of its members.”

Zuma said Africa — “a continent with more than one billion people which is not represented in the United Nations Security Council as a permanent member” needed better representation on the body.

“The world that is supposed to be just cannot have more than a billion people not represented at a decision-making level.”

Turning to “some outstanding peace and security issues“‚ Zuma said‚ “There can be no lasting peace in the Middle East for as long as Palestinians are denied their inalienable right to a land of their own.”

He described the recent UN decision to allow the Palestinian flag to fly outside its headquarters as a “great victory“.

Palestinians needed their own country “existing side-by-side and at peace with Israel” and “with east Jerusalem as its capital“.

Zuma said South Africa urged all parties to the Israel/Palestine conflict “to return to negotiations“.

Zuma outlined several steps that needed to be taken to bring an end to the conflict including that “all Palestinian parties and groupings need to form a cohesive collective solidarity front” and that Israel needed to stop “the unacceptable blockade of Gaza“.

“Israel’s settlement programme including in East Jerusalem must be stopped‚” he said.

Turning to the conflict in Western Sahara‚ he said: “The time has come for the United Nations to determine a date for the holding of a self-determination referendum for the people of Western Sahara — the last colony in Africa.”

Zuma said there had been “positive developments” including “the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States“.

“We reiterate our call for the immediate repeal of all legislation that retains the embargo against Cuba.”

South Africa was “extremely concerned” about the conflict in South Sudan. He commended all parties to the conflict for signing “the compromise agreement” which laid the basis for a transitional authority.

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