South Africa riots: FM Pandor assures Jaishankar of early restoration of normalcy

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New Delhi, Jul 14 (PTI) Amid reports of widespread violence and rioting in South Africa, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday spoke with his South African counterpart Naledi Pandor who assured him that her government was doing utmost to enforce law and order and an early restoration of normalcy was the overriding priority.

'Appreciate the conversation with South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor today. She assured that her government was doing utmost to enforce law and order. Early restoration of normalcy and peace was the overriding priority,' Jaishankar, who is on a visit to Tajikistan to attend key meetings of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), tweeted.

Sources said that in the context of the ongoing unrest in some parts of South Africa, Jaishankar spoke to his South African counterpart and had a cordial and open conversation.

Separately, Sanjay Bhattacharya, Secretary, MEA, also met the High Commissioner of South Africa to India, Joel Sibusiso Ndebele, the sources said.

The South African side assured that their government was doing its utmost to enforce law and order and asserted that early restoration of normalcy and peace was its overriding priority, they said. The South African side expected the situation to improve soon.

Regarding reports of arson and looting against Indians and Indian-origin South Africans, the sources said the South African side conveyed that opportunistic elements were taking advantage of the situation to engage in looting and violence, as had been highlighted by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his address to the Nation on July 12. The South African side emphasised that the ongoing events were criminal in nature and not politically or racially motivated, the sources said.

Violence began in South Africa last Wednesday after former president Jacob Zuma began serving his 15-month sentence in a contempt of court case. The riots have led to 72 deaths and over 1,200 arrests. PTI ASK TIR TIR

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