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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa began a state visit to the UK on Tuesday. In front of British parliamentarians, he declared that the agreement reached at COP27 to create a fund for the benefit of poor countries should be translated into cold hard cash.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday (November 22nd) urged wealthy countries to help countries vulnerable to climate change during a state visit to London with great fanfare, the first for King Charles III since he took the throne. .
In the wake of COP27 in Egypt, the South African leader argued in front of British parliamentarians that the agreement to create a fund for the benefit of poor countries should be translated into cold hard cash. “It is not charity,” he said, but “compensation for the harm that has been done, and the harm to come, to the people of developing economies as a consequence of the industrialization of rich countries. “.
Opening a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, the king praised the relationship between the two countries, in a speech peppered with references to the great figures of South Africa, from Nelson Mandela to Desmond Tutu.
Known for his long-standing commitment to the environment, the 74-year-old sovereign said that, “above all, “we must find and implement practical solutions” to the “double threat” of climate change and decrease in biodiversity.
In a context of questioning around the colonial past of the United Kingdom and its links with the countries of the former British Empire, the king also considered it “essential” to “understand” the elements of the source history of “profound sadness”. “As I told Commonwealth leaders this year,” said Charles III, “we must acknowledge the wrongs that have shaped our past if we are to unlock the power of our common future.”
The South African leader was welcomed midday in London by the King, Queen Consort Camilla, Crown Prince William and his wife Kate in a traditional ceremony at Horse Guard Parade Square. Cyril Ramaphosa reviewed the honor guard with Charles III, before a coach procession took them to Buckingham Palace.
The two-day state visit is King Charles III’s first since assuming the throne following the death of Elizabeth II in early September.
In front of British MPs, President Ramaphosa acknowledged that corruption is endemic in his country, a practice of which he himself is accused by his opponents. He highlighted his government’s efforts to “rebuild” the economy after the pandemic and urged the UK to accept more South African students.
On the occasion of this visit, Cyril Ramaphosa, who came to London in September for the funeral of Elizabeth II, went to Westminster Abbey, where there is a memorial in homage to Nelson Mandela, a great friend of the late British sovereign.
The South African president will have an interview with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday, during which the two leaders should notably discuss economic cooperation between their two countries. They will launch the new phase of the existing partnership between Pretoria and London for the development of infrastructure in South Africa and will sign a new partnership on minerals used in technologies contributing to the fight against climate change, according to Downing Street.
“South Africa is already the UK’s largest trading partner on the continent and we have ambitious plans to jointly drive infrastructure investment and economic growth,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement. a statement.
This diplomatic meeting comes in a delicate context in South Africa for Cyril Ramaphosa, who faces the anger of the population because of the economic situation. He is also accused, which he denies, of having bought the silence of burglars who fell on several million in cash in one of his properties in February 2020, nurturing suspicions of money laundering and corruption.
The results of an ongoing investigation could open the South African Parliament to a vote for the dismissal of Cyril Ramaphosa, who denounces a political maneuver to prevent him from being a candidate for a second presidential term in 2024.