September 22, 2023

SA’s Ramaphosa hopeful on Russia-Ukraine undertaking

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa says a peace proposal from African leaders who recently wrapped up their diplomatic visits to Russia and Ukraine has “created a foundation for future engagements that will contribute to a road to peace and resolution” to end the conflict.

“We met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the capital Kyiv, and with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg on Saturday,” said Ramaphosa on Monday. “We presented a ten-point proposal that we as African leaders believe can contribute to various efforts that have been made by various parties to bring the conflict to an end.”

The proposal elements focused on de-escalation of the 16-month conflict, including related concerns over prisoners of war, humanitarian aid, and post-war reconstruction.

The Peace Mission to Ukraine and Russia also included heads of state from Comoros, Senegal and Zambia, and key officials from Egypt, Uganda, and Congo-Brazzaville. Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso has said that African nations cannot remain silent on the Russia-Ukraine conflict due to its direct energy and food security impacts on African nations, though many have sought to remain neutral.

Ramaphosa noted the African Development Bank estimates of a 30 million-ton grain shortage on the African continent because of fighting between Russia and Ukraine.

“Just as we as African leaders visited Ukraine and Russia to explain the impact the conflict is having on our citizens, we also believe we can contribute to international efforts to bring about the conditions for a lasting peace,” the South African president said.

“Both Presidents Zelensky and Putin agreed to further engagements following this initial visit.”

Image: South African Presidency

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