President Jacob Zuma signs the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on the sidelines of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.  Picture: GCIS
President Jacob Zuma signs the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on the sidelines of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Picture: GCIS

President Jacob has called for calm in North Korea‚ saying "the situation cannot be allowed to get out of hand".

Speaking on Wednesday at the United Nations General Assembly‚ Zuma said: "As a country that voluntarily dismantled its nuclear weapons programme‚ SA is of the firm view that there are no safe hands for weapons of mass destruction."

Earlier in the day‚ Zuma signed an anti-nuclear weapons treaty at the United Nations‚ which allows for the use of nuclear technology only for purposes such as energy and medicine.

"The only viable solution to the problems of nuclear weapons is their total elimination as expressed in the recently adopted UN treaty‚" he said.

"It can no longer be acceptable that a few countries keep arsenals and stockpiles of nuclear weapons as part of their strategic defence‚ while expecting others to remain at their mercy."

Zuma also used his speech to call out countries that had "opted for guns and bombs" instead of dialogue to resolve the Libyan crisis in 2011.

"Today‚ those countries are making little effort to promote stability in Libya. The major focus and preoccupation has become how to deal with the flow of migrants arriving in Europe from our continent and the Middle East‚ which are just mere symptoms."

Marking what would have been Oliver Tambo’s 100th birthday‚ Zuma paid tribute to the apartheid activist and said: "If OR Tambo were still alive today‚ he would have pleaded with this august house to support the struggle of the Palestinian people from occupation‚ and also to support the struggle of the people of Western Sahara."

He also registered SA’s "disappointment at the June 2017 decision of the US administration to reverse the progress that was registered in the past two years towards ending the Cuban blockade".

Zuma was one of 16 African heads of state who met on Wednesday with US president Donald Trump. The South African delegation had hoped to discuss issues affecting Africa.

Please sign in or register to comment.