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African Leaders To Visit Russia, Ukraine For “Confidence Building Measures” Amidst War

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African leaders may suggest a number of “confidence building measures” at the time of their first negotiations for mediation in the Russia and Ukraine war.

A team led by the presidents of Senegal and South Africa, Macky Sall and Cyril Ramaphosa respectively, along with the prime ministers of Zambia, the Comoros, and Egypt, will visit Kyiv and St. Petersburg on Friday and Saturday, respectively. During their visit to war torn countries, they will meet both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The visit takes place not long after Ukraine last week began the main thrust of a counteroffensive that it expects will aid in the liberation of south and eastern regions held by Russian soldiers.

“The conflict, as well as the sanctions placed on Russia by major trading partners of the (African) Continent, have had an adverse effect on African economies and livelihoods,” it said.

African peace plan

The mission’s goal is “to promote the importance of peace and to encourage the parties to agree to a diplomacy-led process of negotiations,” according to the framework document, which has not been made public.

These steps might include a Russian troop withdrawal, the removal of Belarus’ tactical nuclear weapons, a halt to the execution of a warrant for Putin’s arrest issued by the International Criminal Court, and a relaxation of sanctions.

“The above-mentioned measures should aim to facilitate the creation of an environment conducive for a ceasefire, and that will allow the parties to build trust and to consider formulating their peace restoration strategies,” the document said.

The document said that dialogue between Russia and the West would need to go hand in hand with an agreement on an end of hostilities.

These discussions would have to cover topics including the use of tactical nuclear weapons, biological weapons systems, and medium-range weapon systems.

Ramaphosa provided UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres with a synopsis of the African initiatives. According to a UN spokesperson, the two spoke a month ago.

“Of course, I always encourage all efforts related to peace. It’s not for me to define what they will achieve,” Guterres told reporters on Thursday. “This is an important initiative based on the goodwill of a number of meaningful countries.”

Peace efforts by nations & struggle for African influence

One of the competing endeavours to stop the war is the African peace movement.

In May, China, which has promoted its own peace plan, dispatched a senior representative to discuss a “political settlement” in Kyiv, Moscow, and European capitals. Additionally, the Vatican launched a peace mission last month. The defence minister of Indonesia put out a peace offer this month, which Kyiv swiftly rejected.

According to Kiev, any peace agreement must be based on its plan, which calls for the departure of Russian soldiers from Ukrainian territory. Moscow describes the conflict as a “special military operation” meant to “denazify” its neighbour. It was started in February of last year.

Since the start of the conflict, Africa has been the focal point of a new struggle for influence between Western countries pushing for a condemnation of Moscow and Russia and China on the other hand.

In an effort to solidify Zelenskyy’s vision as the only realistic route to peace in his nation, Ukraine has made a major drive to woo the Global South and resist Russian diplomatic influence. The effort, which last month saw the foreign minister of Ukraine travel to two African nations amidst the war, has become more urgent as competing peace plans have surfaced in other capitals.

As a countermeasure to Western attempts to shape government attitudes on the crisis, Russia has sent a regular stream of high-level delegations to Africa over the past year.

The Kremlin has downplayed the likelihood of having fruitful negotiations with Kiev while stating that it is still willing to listen and is open to other proposals, despite the fact that it claims the prerequisites for a peace process are not yet in place.

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