On Tuesday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has recently had ‘friendly’ relations with Russia, announced that both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have agreed to host a delegation of leaders from a handful of African countries.
“My discussions with the two leaders demonstrated that they are both ready to receive the African leaders and to have discussions on how this conflict can be brought to an end,” Ramaphosa said. “Whether that will succeed or not is going to depend on the discussions that will be held.”
The peace initiative is also backed by other African countries including, Senegal, Egypt, Uganda, Zambia, and the Republic of the Congo. Representatives from all countries will be sent to meetings in both Moscow and Kyiv at an undisclosed time.
Only 2 of the countries, Egypt and Zambia, voted with the UN last year on condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while the remaining 4 countries, the Republic of Congo, South Africa, Uganda, and Senegal abstained from the vote, according to a Zerohedge report.
Despite, Ramaphosa’s announcement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday that his government had not received anything official regarding a firm date for the meeting or a formal invitation, but seemed eager for the meeting.
“We responded to an appeal to us from Latin American and African friend 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,” Lavrov said.
The diplomat then went on to point to NATO expansion as the blockade to genuine peace talks saying, “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.”
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South Africa has come under fire recently after the U.S. ambassador made allegations that the country had allowed weapons transfers, accusations that set off a scandal in the Ramaphosa administration. Meanwhile, the South African president had a call with Putin days ago amid accusations from Western leaders regarding the country’s neutrality.
China is also continuing its peace efforts between the two countries with Beijing’s Eurasian affairs representative, Li Hui, arriving in Ukraine on Tuesday. The U.S., however, has stayed consistent in its stance that Washington remains “wary of any calls for an immediate ceasefire or peace talks.”
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