African Leaders in Ukraine to Push for Peace Talks

African leaders and senior politicians from seven countries are visiting Ukraine and Russia to find some middle ground for the warring parties to start peace talks.

A delegation of African leaders on a mission to end the war in Ukraine received a reminder of the challenge they faced when explosions were heard in Kyiv during their visit on Friday.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and other African heads of state arrived earlier to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, before talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg on Saturday.

They are hoping to encourage the Ukrainian and Russian leaders to agree to, “a diplomacy-led process of negotiations.”

Accompanying Ramaphosa are Senegal’s Macky Sall, Zambia’s Hakainde Hichilema and Comoros President Azali Assoumani, who currently heads the African Union and senior politicians from Uganda, Egypt and the Congo.

What we know about their peace proposal

The delegation is proposing a series of “confidence-building measures” during initial efforts at mediation, according to a draft framework document seen by Reuters.

The list of possible measures reportedly includes a pull-back of Russian troops, removal of tactical nuclear weapons from neighboring Belarus, the suspension of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant targeting Putin, as well as sanctions relief.

The document also reportedly includes an “unconditional grain and fertilizer deal,” exports of which have been disrupted by the conflict, hitting African economies hard.

“This peace mission is the first time that Africa is united behind the resolution of a conflict outside of our continent, and where you have a group of African heads of state and government traveling together in an attempt to find a path to peace to this conflict,” Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya, said in a video he posted on Twitter.