June 6, 2023

African peace mission to send delegation mid-June over Russia-Ukraine war

South Africa hikes taxes, social spending ahead of election

By Biodun Busari

African representatives to broker peace in the Russia-Ukraine war are set to launch their mission in mid-June.

This was disclosed by South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa while addressing a press conference in Pretoria on Monday.

He said last month that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had each agreed to receive a six-member African peace team.

Ramaphosa made this known in the presence of the visiting Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, according to AFP.

He said African leaders, meeting on Monday, “agreed that they would engage” Putin and Zelensky “on the elements for a ceasefire and a lasting peace in the region.”

“The presidents confirmed their availability to travel to Ukraine and Russia in mid-June,” it said, without giving a specific date or itinerary.

He added that it was “confirmed that we now are at a stage where we are going visit Kyiv and Moscow.”

“Our mission is a peace mission,” he said, “and we want to dub it as a road to peace.”

He said the African leaders would be “seeking to get a commitment on both sides that they too should seek… to end this conflict through peaceful means.”

The two leaders “need to outline to us their perspective of the war as well as what are their minimum requirements for bringing the conflict to an end,” he said.

“We will be able to give our own perspective as Africans in terms of how we see this war having an impact on Africa in relation to food prices, grain prices and fuel, as well as the impact it is having on Europe and the rest of the world as it has become rather a global type of conflict,” Ramaphosa said.

De Sousa commended thanked Ramaphosa for his role in the initiative, emphasising the importance of listening “to the two parties and tell them what is the African view of a war that is not just a European war, it is a global war.”

Foreign ministers from the respective countries will “finalise the elements of a roadmap to peace,” Ramaphosa’s office said in the earlier statement.

The delegation announced by Ramaphosa last month comprises the presidents of the Republic of Congo, Egypt, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia.

Monday’s virtual meeting was also attended by Comoros President Azali Assoumani, the current head of the African Union (AU).

African countries have been badly hit by rising prices for grain since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – a major global source of wheat and other agricultural commodities – and the war’s wider impact on world trade.