African mediation mission to visit Russia, Ukraine

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African leaders seeking to help bring an end to the war agreed to a mediation mission to Russia and Ukraine in mid-June, the South African presidency announced.

Last month, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa had indicated that his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts, Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky, had agreed to host this peace mission made up of six African leaders.

They met virtually and “agreed to propose elements” to Russia and Ukraine “for a ceasefire and lasting peace in the region”, said a statement from the South African president’s office.

“The (African) heads of state confirmed their readiness to visit Ukraine and Russia in mid-June”, it added, without giving a precise date. The foreign ministers of the six countries in question will “finalize the elements of a roadmap to peace”, the statement said.

The meeting “confirmed that we are now at a stage where we are going to go to Kiev and Moscow”, Mr Ramaphosa then declared at a joint press conference with his Portuguese counterpart, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

“Our mission is a mission of peace, and we want to call it a path to peace”, added the South African president, adding that African leaders would “seek a commitment from both sides that they too should seek (…) to end this conflict by peaceful means”.

The Russian and Ukrainian leaders “must explain to us their point of view on the war as well as their minimum requirements to end the conflict”, he also argued.

“We will be able to give our own point of view as Africans on how we perceive the impact of this war on Africa in terms of food prices, grain prices and fuel prices, as well as on Europe and the rest of the world because it has become a rather globalized type of conflict,” Ramaphosa also said.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who thanked Mr Ramaphosa for his role in the initiative, stressed the importance of “listening to both sides and telling them what the African vision is of a war that is not just a European war, it’s a globalized war”.

The members of the mission, identified last month by the South African president, include the leaders of Congo-Brazzaville, Egypt, Senegal, Uganda and Zambia.

The Head of State of the Comoros, Azali Assoumani, attended the meeting in his capacity as current Chairman of the African Union.

Africa has been hard hit by rising grain prices and the impact of the war between Russia and Ukraine on world trade.

Africanews/Hauwa M.