A sizeable African leadership contingent journeys to Moscow, advocating their Ukraine peace proposal
On Saturday, in St. Petersburg, Russian President Vladimir Putin played host to an assembly of African leaders. This group arrived in Russia a day after their visit to Ukraine, where they met President Vladimir Zelensky. Their objective was to advocate a 10-point peace roadmap, devised to resolve the enduring conflict between Kiev and Moscow, which has now extended well into its second year. The African delegation consisted of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Senegalese President Macky Sall, Comoros President Othman Ghazali, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, and senior officials from the Republic of Congo and Uganda.
Impact of Ukraine conflict on Africa
During the discussions, President Ghazali emphasized the far-reaching consequences of the Russia-Ukraine hostilities, asserting that the impact extends beyond the two Slavic nations involved and affects the entire African continent. He highlighted the detrimental effects on food and energy security, posing unprecedented challenges. President Ghazali urged Putin to engage in negotiations with Kiev, recognizing the need for a resolution to mitigate these pressing concerns.
African leaders unveil peace roadmap
The delegation presented President Putin with a comprehensive 10-point peace roadmap, which serves as a broad framework outlining the necessary steps to resolve the hostilities between Moscow and Kiev. The document emphasizes the delegation’s openness to other peace initiatives proposed by external parties, while asserting that the conflict cannot endure indefinitely and must be resolved through negotiations.
The roadmap underscores the African nations’ commitment to upholding the sovereignty of both Russia and Ukraine, as enshrined in the UN Charter, and urges the two countries to take measures to de-escalate the situation. Furthermore, the document calls for the removal of all trade restrictions on essential commodities like grain, as well as other goods impacted by the conflict. It emphasizes the importance of providing humanitarian support to those affected by the conflict.
In addition, the roadmap urges the release of all prisoners of war and advocates for the safe return of temporarily displaced individuals, including children, to their homes. By outlining these key principles and action points, the delegation seeks to facilitate a peaceful resolution to the crisis and mitigate its humanitarian consequences.
Putin explains why Istanbul agreement flopped
During the meeting, President Putin reiterated Russia’s willingness to engage in negotiations, highlighting that it was Kiev and its supporters who jeopardized the dialogue. To support his statement, Putin presented a copy of a preliminary agreement with Ukraine, which was initialed during talks in Istanbul the previous year.
Displaying the document to the African leaders, Putin emphasized its significance, referring to it as an “agreement on permanent neutrality and security guarantees for Ukraine.” He emphasized that the agreement focused on providing guarantees. According to Putin, Ukraine violated the preliminary deal immediately after Russia withdrew its troops from the Kiev Region, as agreed upon in Istanbul. He added that the Kiev authorities, as is customary with their leaders, disregarded the agreement, consigning it to the “graveyard of history.” Putin expressed doubt that Ukraine would honor any future agreements, highlighting the uncertainty of their commitment.
Roots of food crisis lie elsewhere
President Putin further asserted that the ongoing energy and food crises were not a direct result of the conflict with Ukraine but rather attributed them to the actions of Western powers. He stated that these crises emerged due to economically unjustified emissions undertaken by Western countries to address the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Regarding the UN-facilitated grain deal, Putin explained that Russia had agreed to and maintained the agreement with the aim of addressing food supply concerns for less-secure nations. However, he acknowledged that the execution of the deal did not unfold as intended. Instead of reaching Africa, the food exported from Ukraine predominantly went to Western countries.
Providing specific figures, Putin highlighted that by June 15, a total of 31.7 million tons of agricultural produce had been exported from Ukrainian ports. Regrettably, only 976 thousand tons, accounting for a mere 3.1%, were directed to the African countries most in need. This disparity underscored the deviation from the intended distribution of food resources.