President Cyril Ramaphosa in conversation with Evercore senior chairman Roger Altman at the Council for Foreign Relations, New York, September 24, 2018. Picture: GCIS / ELMOND JIYANE
President Cyril Ramaphosa in conversation with Evercore senior chairman Roger Altman at the Council for Foreign Relations, New York, September 24, 2018. Picture: GCIS / ELMOND JIYANE

New York — President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday packed a small auditorium at the Council on Foreign Relations’s Upper East Side headquarters, where he championed free trade, multilateralism and his country’s resilience.

Ramaphosa is attending this week’s UN General Assembly, where US President Donald Trump is set to deliver a speech that lays out his “America First” world view. Trump’s presence was felt during Ramaphosa’s hour-long talk with Evercore senior chairman Roger Altman, a senior US treasury official in the Carter and Clinton administrations.

Altman asked about SA’s land-reform effort, noting that last month Trump asked the US state department to “closely study the SA land and farm seizures and expropriations”. Ramaphosa staunchly defended his plan, saying it’s “an internal issue” and the South African government will be fair to all its citizens.

“If Mr Trump was here, I would tell him, ‘Mr Trump, we are going to solve this problem in the typical South African way'," Ramaphosa said. “He is not a member of the council,” countered Altman, drawing laughter from the audience.

Bloomberg

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