Ramaphosa to lead African leaders to Moscow, Kyiv for peace talks

President Cyril Ramaphosa during the question and answer session in the National Assembly. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published May 16, 2023


President Cyril Ramaphosa will join a group of African leaders who will soon be travelling to Moscow and Kyiv to meet with Vladimir Putin of Russia and Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, to help resolve the conflict between their countries.

Ramaphosa said he had spoken with both Zelensky and Putin at the weekend where they discussed a possible peaceful solution.

He said the two leaders agreed to having a delegation of African leaders to mediate between the warring parties.

Ramaphosa will join President Macky Sall of Senegal, Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo-Brazzaville, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.

Both Putin and Zelensky said they were ready to receive the six African leaders.

Preparations were at an advanced stage and the delegation will travel to Moscow and Kyiv anytime soon.

Ramaphosa, who was briefing the media during the State visit by the Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday in Cape Town, said they hoped the peace mission will lead to a lasting solution.

“In the end it is the African heads of state that I mentioned who will be leading this process. It is not really South Africa. It’s collectively various presidents. President Denis Sassou Nguesso, Museveni, Hichilema, Sisi, myself and Macky Sall of Senegal. The six named heads of state are the ones who are sponsoring this whole initiative. We are hoping that we will have intensive discussions with the two leaders.

“They have said they are open to having these discussions with us. As to what these discussions will lead to we will see as the discussions get under way. It’s very difficult to predict what the real outcome will be and what the full ramifications will be about BRICS and all that,” said Ramaphosa.

He added that the two leaders agreed after months of preparations for the discussions, to the African leaders visiting their countries.

The Ukraine-Russia conflict has been going on since last February.

“Let’s allow this process to get under way. It’s reached a stage where Putin and Zelensky have agreed that this mission should be received. We felt we should proceed,” Ramaphosa said.

The impending visit by the six African leaders comes at the time South Africa has faced accusations by US ambassador Reuben Brigety of supporting Russia by selling arms to it.

DA leader John Steenhuisen said he was in Washington two weeks ago when he put forward the case for South Africa that it did not support Russia.

Steenhuisen said he wanted to protect the country from being kicked out of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

Ramaphosa’s national security adviser Sydney Mufamadi was in Washington more than a week ago with Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, to explain the country’s position.

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