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Africa Makes Debut In Global Conflict Mediation After Peace Mission Arrives In Ukraine And Russia

Africa | Rest Of The World June 17, 2023

Africa made a historic debut in global conflict mediation after a peace mission entailing a delegation of some African leaders and government representives led by President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa arrived in Ukraine on June 16, 2023, for the first phase of their attempt to try stop the ongoing bloody war between Ukraine and Russia and bring the two nations to the negotiating table.

After meeting the delegation, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine reportedly said that dialogue with Russia is a non-starter as long as Russia occupies Ukraine territory. However, he told the delegation that if they can persuade Russia to withdraw all its forces from Ukraine, then, such dialogue could be possible.

On June 17, 2023, the African delegation continued to phase two of their peace mission by travelling to St Petersburg in Russia where they met President Vladimir Putin. The latter is said to have told the African leaders that Russia is open for dialogue with Ukraine. That is probably under certain conditions because earlier in a speech to the International Economic Forum in St Petersburg (June 14 - 17, 2023), the Russian president indicated very clearly that Russia has no intention whatsoever of withdrawing its troops from Ukraine as Ukraine's leader would wish to see happening as precursor for dialogue.

The African leaders may not be able to bring Ukraine and Russia to the negotiating table on this occasion given the rigid stances against peace posed by the warring parties. However, the leaders are likely to have contributed immensely to useful ideas that underscore the importance of such negotiation to the two countries themselves as well as the rest of the world. That probably may in the future trigger within Ukraine and Russia a shift from current rigid stances against peace, hence stop killing each other, and begin talking to each other.

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