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A royal reset of UK-South Africa relations

EXPERT COMMENT

The UK needs to get the tone right as South African president Cyril Ramaphosa is welcomed by King Charles III for the first state visit of his reign.

South Africa is an important regional partner for the UK, but one which it has too often taken for granted. That South Africa’s President Ramaphosa will undertake the first state visit of the new King is more down to practicality than strategy – longstanding plans were interrupted by COVID-19 – but it nonetheless comes at a critical moment in the bilateral relationship.

It brings with it the opportunity to build a new foundation for a relationship that has all too often been soured by acrimony and suspicion. Setting the right tone will be crucial. Most notably, London must avoid the temptation to lecture South Africa about its United Nations (UN) voting on Ukraine.

South Africa has signalled it feels Western powers’ ‘with us or against us’ approach on Ukraine has been disrespectful of their sovereign agency to determine their own position. The UK must be a good host and listen to its guests.

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Original article link: https://www.chathamhouse.org/2022/11/royal-reset-uk-south-africa-relations

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