South African President’s Ukrainian peace initiative

StarAvis Desk
StarAvis Desk
5 Min Read
Russian President Vladimir Putin and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (right) join forces ahead of discussions with African leaders in St. Petersburg to explore potential avenues for resolving the Ukraine situation on June 17, 2023. © Sputnik

President Cyril Ramaphosa highlights the unprecedented nature of African leaders’ peace mission, extending their reach beyond the continent’s boundaries for the first time.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa hailed the African peace mission to Ukraine as a groundbreaking event, despite the cautious response from Russian and Ukrainian leaders.

International Leaders Conclude Talks in Kyiv: Prominent Figures from Egypt, Senegal, Comoros, Ukraine, South Africa, and Zambia Walk Together.
International Leaders Conclude Talks in Kyiv: Prominent Figures from Egypt, Senegal, Comoros, Ukraine, South Africa, and Zambia Walk Together. PHOTO | AFP

Following his return from talks in Kyiv and St Petersburg, where no immediate breakthrough was achieved, Ramaphosa emphasized the significance of the delegation’s visit.

The delegation, comprised of prominent presidents and envoys, first met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy before proceeding to Russia for discussions with President Vladimir Putin.

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Ramaphosa underscored the historic nature of the mission, as it marked the first time African leaders had embarked on a peace initiative outside of their continent. He also highlighted the positive reception from both sides, which instilled a sense of optimism that the proposals would be seriously considered.

Furthermore, Ramaphosa revealed that both Zelenskyy and Putin had agreed to further engagements, indicating a willingness to continue the dialogue.

This handout photograph taken and released by RIA Novosti on June 17, 2023, shows Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa (R) during their meeting at the Constantine (Konstantinovsky) Palace in Strelna, outside Saint Petersburg. (Photo by Ramil Sitdikov / RIA NOVOSTI / AFP)

African leaders advocates for peace in Ukraine

In an effort to address the far-reaching consequences of the Ukraine conflict, South Africa, a continental powerhouse, has chosen to maintain a neutral position rather than condemn the invasion. This stance is rooted in a preference for dialogue as a means to bring an end to the war.

The African leaders’ mission resonated with the collective voice of a continent that has suffered greatly from the repercussions of the Ukraine conflict, particularly in relation to soaring grain prices. In response, the delegation presented a comprehensive 10-point proposal, encompassing measures such as de-escalation, the respect for countries’ sovereignty, unobstructed grain exports via the Black Sea, and repatriation of prisoners of war and displaced children to their respective home countries.

However, the Kremlin viewed these principles as “highly challenging to implement,” while Ukrainian President Zelenskyy rejected negotiations with Moscow as long as Russian forces maintained their presence on Ukrainian soil.

The diplomatic team consisted of South Africa’s President, along with leaders from Senegal, Comoros, and Zambia, in addition to high-ranking officials from Uganda, Egypt, and Congo-Brazzaville. Their collective efforts aimed to amplify the voice of the African continent and contribute to finding a resolution to the ongoing Ukraine crisis.

An analysis

The news above highlights a significant diplomatic development involving Russian President Vladimir Putin and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. The two leaders are seen meeting before engaging in talks with a group of African state leaders who gathered in St. Petersburg to discuss potential solutions to the ongoing situation surrounding Ukraine.

This development signifies a notable international effort to address the Ukraine conflict, with leaders from both Russia and Africa coming together to explore possible ways to resolve the crisis. It suggests a recognition of the global implications of the conflict and the need for a collaborative approach to finding a resolution.

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The involvement of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in these discussions highlights the country’s role as a key player in African diplomacy and its willingness to engage in high-stakes international negotiations. Ramaphosa’s presence also suggests that South Africa may be seeking to maintain a neutral position in the conflict, as mentioned in a previous alternative representation.

The meeting in St. Petersburg indicates a platform for dialogue and potential cooperation between Russia, South Africa, and other African nations. While the specific details and outcomes of the talks are not mentioned in the provided information, the gathering of leaders from various African states suggests a concerted effort to contribute to resolving the Ukraine situation.

Overall, this news reflects the ongoing diplomatic efforts to address the Ukraine conflict on an international scale, bringing together leaders from different regions to explore possible pathways to peace and stability.


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