African leaders, seeking to help end the war, agreed on Monday for a mediation mission in mid-June to Russia and Ukraine, the South African presidency announced on Tuesday.
Last month, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa indicated that his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts, Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky, had given their agreement to receive this peace mission composed of six African leaders.
The latter met virtually on Monday and “agreed to propose elements” to Russia and Ukraine “for a ceasefire and lasting peace in the region”, said a press release from the services of the President of the South. African.
“The (African) heads of state have confirmed their availability to go to Ukraine and Russia in mid-June,” he added without giving a specific date. The foreign ministers of the six countries in question will “finalize the elements of a roadmap towards peace”, the statement said.
The warring countries have both welcomed the initiative by Ramaphosa and the leaders of Egypt, Republic of Congo, Senegal, Uganda, and Zambia.
Monday’s meeting “confirmed that we are now at a stage where we are going to go to Kyiv and Moscow,” Ramaphosa then said during 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 to secure 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, 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, for his part underlined the importance of listening to “both parties and telling them what is the African vision of a war that does not is only a European war, it is a globalized war”.
The members of the mission, identified last month by the South African president, are besides the latter the leaders of Congo-Brazzaville, Egypt, Senegal, Uganda, and Zambia.
The Head of State of Comoros, Azali Assoumani, attended Monday’s meeting in his capacity as the current chair of the African Union.
Africa is hard hit by the increase in cereal prices and the consequences of the war between Russia and Ukraine on world trade.