Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa has had a telephone discussion with the president of China, Xi Jinping, where the two leaders committed to work together ahead of the BRICS summit.
South Africa is expected to host the summit in August with speculation mounting that Pretoria has asked Beijing to host it to avoid the controversy over Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
But government has denied this, saying the plan was still to host the summit in Johannesburg.
The country had in the last decade hosted two BRICS summits in 2013 and 2018 and this year it will be the third time it will be hosting it.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said on Saturday the president had a call with Xi where they discussed the peace mission by African leaders to Kyiv and Moscow.
Ramaphosa will be joined by presidents Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, Macky Sall of Senegal, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo-Brazzaville and Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia in the peace mission.
“President Ramaphosa noted the peace plan that has been proposed by China and affirmed South Africa’s and the African leaders' support of initiatives that are aimed at a peaceful resolution of the conflict. President Xi Jinping commended the initiative by the African continent and acknowledged the impact the conflict has had on human lives and on food security in Africa,” said Magwenya.
Both Putin and Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky have agreed to receive the African leaders in Moscow and Kyiv.
The foreign ministers from these African states are scheduled to travel the two European capitals in the next few days to prepare for the visit by the six heads of state.
Magwenya said Ramaphosa and Xi also spoke about working together ahead of the BRICS summit.
“The leaders also discussed their cooperation at BRICS and preparations for the upcoming BRICS summit. They both committed to work towards a successful summit,” said Magwenya.