African nations to send peace mission to Russia, Ukraine

2023-05-16 19:53:56
African nations to send peace mission to Russia, Ukraine

Six African leaders plan to travel to Russia and Ukraine "as soon as is possible" to help find a resolution to the war, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said Tuesday.

Ramaphosa spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy by phone over the weekend and they each agreed to host "an African leaders' peace mission" in Moscow and Kyiv, respectively, a statement from the South African leader's office said.

The leaders of Zambia, Senegal, Congo, Uganda and Egypt plan to join Ramaphosa on the mission, the president said. He said Putin and Zelenskyy gave him the go-ahead to “commence the preparations.”

"We're hoping we will have intensive discussions," he said, speaking at a press conference in Cape Town during a state visit by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the African Union (AU) have been briefed on the initiative and welcomed it, Ramaphosa added.

Ramaphosa did not give a specific timeline for the visit or other details, saying only that the conflict had been "devastating" and Africa "is also suffering a great deal" from it.

African countries have been badly hit by rising prices of grain and by the impact to world trade.

On Monday, Ramaphosa said South Africa would not be drawn "into a contest between global powers" despite having faced "extraordinary pressure" to do so.

"We do not accept that our non-aligned position favours Russia above other countries. Nor do we accept that it should imperil our relations with other countries," Ramaphosa said in a weekly presidential newsletter.


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