Our peace mission will be measured on ending of war, says Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Picture: Kopano Tlape/GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Picture: Kopano Tlape/GCIS

Published Jun 18, 2023


Siyabonga Mkhwanazi

President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned that their peace mission to Russia and Ukraine will be measured on the objective of stopping the war.

He said while they met both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leader of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy they did not expect there would be an instant result.

Ramaphosa said they would have a follow up meeting with Putin during the Russia-Africa summit in St Petersburg in July.

The last Russia-Africa summit was held in 2019 in Sochi.

Ramaphosa said the African leaders were probably the first group to have met both Putin and Zelenskyy within a short space of time.

The leaders first met Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Friday and then went to meet with Putin in St Petersburg the following day.

Ramaphosa said he believed their trip had an impact and there will be follow up meetings with both leaders.

“I think our mission was impactful. Its real success will obviously be measured on the ultimate objective of stopping the war. But the impact it has had is that one, we were listened to as we gave an African perspective on the war that is having negative consequences for our continent.

“Secondly, we are probably the only group that has engaged the two leaders within a short space of time to forward a very strong proposal and view that the war must end. But we also accompanied that broad proposal with a number of elements which have to do with the recognition of the sovereignty of countries in terms of the UN Charter,” said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa said he presented their proposals to Putin and one of those was about opening the Black Sea to allow the movement of grain and fertiliser to the world market.

Ramaphosa also said he will brief UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and other world leaders about the outcome of the meeting with Putin and Zelenskyy.

This was important because they needed to know about some of the work that was being done to address the crisis in Ukraine.

He said the fact that they will have follow up discussions with the two leaders showed that there was commitment to end the war.

“The continent is going to have a summit with Russia, which is the second summit, and we will continue our discussions with Putin then. In the intervening period we will be talking to Zelenskyy because we also want to know his response on the number of issues we raised.

“Overall, much as this was not going to end the war it was one of those engagements and many other parties and countries are having engagements with Russia and Ukraine,” said Ramaphosa.

He said they recognise the work that is done by other countries to end the war.

China has also been involved in the peace initiatives.

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