African Heads of State to embark on peace mission to Ukraine and Russia

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President Cyril Ramaphosa along with five African Heads of State will in the coming weeks travel to Ukraine and Russia on an African Peace Initiative concerning the war in Ukraine. 

Speaking to media on Tuesday, President Ramaphosa said the African Heads of State have been involved in discussing initiative of peace making over a number of months.

“Yesterday we met and confirmed that we now at a stage where we are going to visit Kyiv and Moscow and our mission is a peace mission and we want to dub it as ‘the road to peace’.

“The first thing that we discussed among ourselves is that we want to listen to both sides. They need to outline to us their own perspective on the war as well as what are their minimum requirements for bringing the conflict to an end,” the President said.

Ramaphosa said that the two Presidents will explain where they are themselves and the African Heads of State will be there to listen.

He emphasised that it is important to listen first, when you make an intervention for peace making.

“You should listen to where the parties are coming from and where they are and also where they want to go and having done so we will be able to give a good perspective in terms of how we see this war having an impact on Africa in relation to food prices, grain prices.

“We will also look at the impact it is having on Europe and the rest of the world. It has become a rather global kind of conflict. It is in that context that we will say we desire that there should be peace, and this being our peace mission we will essentially be seeking for peace and a commitment from both sides that they too should seek for peace to end this conflict,” he said.

President Ramaphosa said their position is that every conflict often ended through discussions and negotiation unless there is an outright defeat which they do not see here.

“Therefore we see one option and one alternative which is parties sitting down to peaceful negotiations. Both of them are saying to us ‘yes we are ready to negotiate’ but we would like to reiterate that conflicts of this nature are having such an overriding impact on the lives of people therefore they should be negotiated and lay out precisely what they see as an end game,” he said.

The Presidents involved in the African Peace Initiative include the  President of the Comoros Islands and current President of the African Union Othman Ghazali, President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi,  President of Senegal Macky Sall, President of Uganda HE Yoweri Museveni, and President of Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema.

The foreign ministers of the respective countries were tasked to finalise the elements of a road-map to peace. The Presidents confirmed their availability to travel to Ukraine and Russia in mid June.