President Cyril Ramaphosa has told Iranian president Hassan Rouhani that South Africa is interested in seeing a peaceful and just resolution to tensions between Iran and the United States.
According to Ramaphosa's spokesperson, Khusela Diko, the president phoned Rouhani on Thursday while in Kimberley. Ramaphosa is in the Northern Cape for the 108 anniversary celebrations of the African National Congress.
"President Ramaphosa’s engagement with president Rouhani was informed by South Africa’s principled view that conflicts should be resolved through political dialogue rather than the use of force.
"The engagement was also framed by South Africa’s role as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and incoming chair of the African Union," said Diko in a statement on Friday.
Ramaphosa conveyed South Africa's condolences to Rouhani on the assassination of Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani, said Diko.
Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike in Iraq last week Friday.
"President Ramaphosa also conveyed South Africa’s sadness at the loss of life – including that of a significant number of Iranian citizens – that resulted from the crash of Ukranian International Airlines Flight 752 shortly after take-off from the Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran on Wednesday," said Diko.
Ramaphosa also expressed "deep concern" at the military action by the United States that led to increased tensions in the area and "created conditions for retaliation".
"President Ramaphosa called on all sides to exercise maximum restraint and conduct themselves within the rule of international law.
"The president expressed to president Rouhani his expectation that the international community make every effort to secure a peaceful and just outcome which will advance global peace, enable global trade and provide security for ordinary people in all parts of the world," said Diko.
Ramaphosa also told Rouhani South Africa was deeply concerned about the escalating tension in the Middle East, which had far-reaching implications for the region as well as international peace and security, said Diko.
"President Ramaphosa also spoke of the need for all countries of the world to observe United Nations Security Council resolutions and the United Nations Charter. The charter calls on all member states to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations."