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Ramaphosa: African Peace Initiative on Ukraine Presented to Putin and Zelensky

© AP PhotoSouth African President Cyril Ramaphosa answers questions in parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, Thursday, May 11, 2023.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa answers questions in parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, Thursday, May 11, 2023.  - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 16.05.2023
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa held a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin last week in which Putin reportedly supported Ramaphosa’s idea of including African leaders in the debate concerning the resolution of the conflict in Ukraine.
President Ramaphosa presented an African leaders' peace proposal to President Vladimir Putin and President Volodymyr Zelensky over the weekend.
The proposal comes as part of a peace initiative put forward by a group of African heads of state aimed at settling the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Ramaphosa commented on the initiative at a joint media briefing with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
According to the president, the discussions on the possible participation of African states in the peace process in Ukraine have been held for "a number of months," with the help of various facilitators, including the Brazzaville Foundation.

"Principal to our discussions are efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the devastating conflict in Ukraine, its cost in human lives and impact on the African continent," he said.

The president explained that despite hostilities not affecting the continent directly in terms of territory or destruction of infrastructure, they do impact on the lives of Africans. He in particular referred to the deteriorating food security on the continent, as well as surging prices of food, fertilizers and fuel.
He noted that six African leaders have expressed their desire to contribute to the conflict's resolution and agreed on the need to put forward a peace initiative. The initiative was presented to the presidents of Russia and Ukraine during separate telephone calls.
"In this regard, I presented the initiative on behalf of African Heads of State, from Zambia, Senegal, Congo, Uganda, Egypt and South Africa," Ramaphosa stated.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Russian counerpart President Vladimir Putin - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 12.05.2023
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The South African leader highlighted that following the phone conversations, both presidents expressed their support for the initiative.

"The two leaders agreed to receive the mission and the African heads of state, in both Moscow and Kiev," the president said.

Ramaphosa pointed out that it is difficult to predict the real outcome of the initiative and whether it will bring any tangible results. However, he noted, the broad discussions are already at the stage when the two leaders supported the mission.

He underlined that as of now, preparations and discussions aimed at implementing this initiative in practice are underway. When asked about the timeframe, the president stressed - "as soon as possible." Ramaphosa also mentioned that the secretary general of the United Nations was briefed on the initiative, noting that Antonio Guterres welcomed the commitment of African leaders to participate in the resolution of the conflict.

Yesterday, South Africa's president said in a statement that since the onset of the Russian special military in Ukraine, the country has been under "extraordinary pressure" to abandon its neutral position and choose sides in the "competition between world powers." He underscored, however, that South Africa sees the key to resolving the conflict in the joint cooperation of the international community.