Media Statement

25 July 2014

Presidential Envoys to travel to the Middle East

President Jacob Zuma has appointed two envoys to the Middle East, namely, former Minister Zola Skweyiya and former Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad.  The envoys will leave for Israel and Palestine today (Friday, 25 July 2014), carrying the President’s messages to both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas. The envoys will make a special appeal for an immediate ceasefire and call for calm and restraint by all parties to the conflict.

Since the outbreak of the current crisis in the Middle East, South Africa has repeatedly expressed serious concern at the escalating number of casualties, many of whom are women, children, and the infirm and has appealed for calm and a speedy ceasefire, as well as the opening of a humanitarian corridor to enable aid to get through to the needy.  South Africa has also expressed her strong condemnation of both actions of the Israeli Defence Forces and Hamas for their continued rocket attacks that have engulfed the populations of both territories leading to a large number of civilian deaths and untold suffering.

The South African Government has been engaged since the advent of our democracy in the call for a peaceful resolution to the Israel-Palestine challenge.  In particular we have maintained the principled position of a two-state solution with a contiguous and economically viable Palestinian State existing side by side in peace with Israel, within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders based on the 4 June 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

In keeping with our long-established foreign policy of creating a peaceful and prosperous global community, President Zuma has despatched the two envoys to the region.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974

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