Ukraine: South Africa hails “historic” African peace Mission

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has described as “historic” the African mission which, at the end of last week, visited Ukraine and then Russia to offer mediation in the war in Ukraine, without however achieving any immediate results.
“This initiative is historic, because it is the first time that African leaders have embarked on a peace mission beyond the continent’s shores”, said Mr. Ramaphosa, in his weekly news bulletin.
The South African Head of State was at the head of a delegation comprising three other presidents: Macky Sall (Senegal), Hakainde Hichilema (Zambia) and Azali Assoumani (Comoros), current Chairman of the African Union, as well as representatives from the Congo, Uganda and Egypt.
They met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday in Kiev, before holding talks with Russian Head of State Vladimir Putin the following day in St Petersburg (north-west Russia).
Mr. Zelensky rejected the offer of African mediation, saying that “allowing negotiations with Russia now, when the occupier is on our land, means freezing the war”.
For its part, the Kremlin described the African plan as “very difficult to implement”, while assuring that President Putin had “expressed his interest in examining it”.
The African peace proposals can be summed up in 10 points, including “de-escalation on both sides”, “recognition of the sovereignty” of the countries as recognized by the UN, “security guarantees” for all parties, the lifting of barriers to grain exports via the Black Sea, the “release of prisoners of war”, and post-war reconstruction.
Mr. Ramaphosa said on Monday that “one of the main results” of the mission “was the positive reception” it received from both sides, “which we found encouraging and which makes us optimistic that the proposals will be taken on board”.