Putin, Zelensky willing to separately host African leaders' peace mission to end Russia-Ukraine war

Putin, Zelensky willing to separately host African leaders' peace mission to end Russia-Ukraine war
Russian President Vladimir Putin with his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, at the July 2018 signing of a Joint Statement on a strategic partnership / Kremlin.ru
By bne IntelliNews May 18, 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have expressed their willingness to separately host an ‘African leaders peace mission’ in an effort to bring an end to the ongoing war in Ukraine, according to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

On May 16, Ramaphosa announced that he had spoken to both Putin and Zelensky over the weekend. They agreed to hold separate meetings in Moscow and Kyiv with leaders from six African countries. Ramaphosa will join the delegation, which will include representatives from Egypt, Zambia, Senegal, Uganda, and the Republic of Congo.

The primary objective of these talks, according to Ramaphosa, is to achieve a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ukraine. While no specific timeline or conditions were mentioned, he stated that the leaders have approved the necessary preparations for the meetings. Furthermore, Ramaphosa confirmed that the plan has been communicated to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who has expressed his support for it.

The United States, through White House national security spokesperson John Kirby, has affirmed its willingness to consider a credible peace proposal, even if it originates from a third party. However, Kirby emphasised that for the U.S. to endorse any peace initiative, it must have the support of President Zelensky and the Ukrainian people.

“We would support any third-party peace proposal, as long as it can be seen as credible, enforceable and sustainable,” Kirby explained. 

In addition to the peace mission, South Africa is facing a complex situation regarding an international arrest warrant for Putin issued by the International Criminal Court. This situation raises concerns about his potential participation in the upcoming BRICS summit scheduled to be held in Durban in August.