African Leaders Initiate 'Peace Mission' With Putin & Zelensky

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, May 18, 2023 - 06:45 AM

A group of African leaders are pushing a peace plan in an attempt to get Russia and Ukraine to the negotiating table.  South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has of late been accused of having 'friendly' relations with Moscow, said Tuesday that both Russia's President Putin and Ukraine's President Zelensky have agreed to host a delegation of African leaders.

"My discussions with the two leaders demonstrated that they are both ready to receive the African leaders and to have discussion on how this conflict can be brought to an end," Ramaphosa said, as quoted in Deutsche Welle. "Whether that will succeed or not is going to depend on the discussions that will be held."

The South African leader listed other countries backing the peace initiative as follows: Senegal, Uganda, Egypt, the Republic of the Congo, and Zambia. Their leaders will reportedly send representatives for meetings in both Moscow and Kiev at an undisclosed date.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, via AP.

The Associated Press has noted that "Four of those six African countries — South Africa, Republic of Congo, Senegal and Uganda — abstained from a U.N. vote last year on condemning Russia’s invasion. Zambia and Egypt voted in favor of the motion."

However, on Wednesday Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said his government had yet to receive anything official regarding a meeting with African leaders or a firm date, but he welcomed the move

"We responded to an appeal to us from Latin American and African friends that we are ready to consider any of their proposals [on the crisis in Ukraine], which are dictated by a sincere desire to help stabilize the world order, but so far, we have not seen anything on paper either from the Brazilians or from the Africans, unlike from our Chinese neighbors," Russian top diplomat stated.

Lavrov also reiterated what he pointed to as the real problem which blocks authentic dialogue: 

"The reckless expansion of NATO not only eastward, but also northward and in other geographic directions undermines the very prospect of any further normal conversation about European security," he told a press briefing.

South Africa in particular has come under pressure regarding US allegations that it allowed weapons transfers, which sent scandal through the Ramaphosa government, resulting in angry denunciations of the Washington allegations, first conveyed through the US ambassador. Ramaphosa held a phone call with Putin days ago, amid Western condemnations of South African neutrality.

China has also this week dispatched a senior envoy to visit both countries, with China’s special representative for Eurasian affairs, Li Hui, having arrived in Ukraine on Tuesday. US officials have meanwhile said they remain "wary of any calls for an immediate ceasefire or peace talks."