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South Africa leader calls to negotiate with Russia in 10-step “peace plan,” says Putin welcome at BRICS summit

African leaders Ukraine zelenskyy peace plan4
African leaders and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during the press conference following their visit. Photo: president.gov.ua
South Africa leader calls to negotiate with Russia in 10-step “peace plan,” says Putin welcome at BRICS summit
In Kyiv, Ramaphosa calls for peace, diplomacy, and fertilizer while confirming South Africa would defy an ICC arrest warrant for the Russian president. Zelenskyy says Ukraine doesn’t need more frozen conflicts.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledged during a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that the African delegation heard rocket strikes during their visit to Kyiv and presented their plan for “peaceful conflict resolution” between Russia and Ukraine.

Ramaphosa expressed his expectation of President Putin’s attendance at the BRICS summit in South Africa, Novynarnia reported, referring to the press conference with the African leader and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Contradicting earlier statements made by his spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, who claimed that the African delegates did not hear any explosions or sirens, Ramaphosa admitted, “Today during our visit, we heard rocket strikes. Such activity does not bode well for establishing peace, so we talk about the need for de-escalation from both sides, for peace to come and the problem to be resolved.”

African leaders come under missile attack in Kyiv en route on “peace mission” to Russia

South Africa: peace, diplomacy, fertilizers

African leaders and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv. Photo: president.gov.ua

The South African president emphasized the mission’s objective of achieving peace through negotiations and diplomacy, stating,

The main component of the mission we came here for is that this war must be resolved, and peace must be achieved through negotiations, diplomatic means. We are certain that we need to move towards peace because all wars eventually end. We believe that this war must be concluded as soon as possible.”

Ramaphosa mentioned discussing President Zelensky’s proposals, referred to as the “Peace Formula,” during their meeting and expressed a desire to hear President Putin’s vision for the path to peace.

The African plan for peace in Ukraine includes ten key points:

  • The war must be settled;
  • peace must be achieved through negotiations;
  • de-escalation of the conflict;
  • sovereignty of states and peoples in accordance with the UN Charter;
  • the need for security guarantees for all countries;
  • both countries must ensure the movement of grain and fertilizers (as Ramaphosa emphasized, one of the reasons for the delegation’s arrival was that Africa is also experiencing the negative consequences of this war);
  • humanitarian support for those who have become victims of the war, who are suffering;
  • mandatory exchange of prisoners, including the return of children;
  • post-war reconstruction and assistance to those affected by the war;
  • better cooperation with African countries.

The point about grain and fertilizers is a prominent one, as African countries have been significantly affected by the war, suffering from disrupted supplies of grain and other food items, aggravating food price inflation and worsening existing hunger crises. A UN-brokered deal has succeeded in partially unblocking Ukraine’s maritime grain exports to tackle the global food crisis, but Ukrainian officials accuse Russia of disrupting the supplies and “weaponizing” the problem of global hunger to put pressure on Ukraine amid the war.

Zelenskyy: Ukraine needs peace, but Russia wants only war

African leaders and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during talks. Photo: president.gov.ua

In response, President Zelensky stated that peaceful negotiations with Russia are only possible after the withdrawal of Russian forces from the occupied territories.

He also mentioned that Kyiv would not again pursue formats like the Minsk agreements, a deal brokered by Germany and France that froze Russia’s initial invasion of 2014 for eight years, stating, “It is evident that Russia is currently trying to return to its old primitive tactic of deception. But they won’t be able to deceive the world anymore.”

“Unfortunately, this day began with another Russian terrorist attack against Ukraine. Russian cruise and ballistic missiles today showed Russia’s real contempt for both peace efforts and all world leaders who are trying to protect the world from aggression. Russia is the only source of the war and the only reason why the consequences of this war are harming the whole world, different peoples on all continents. No one can feel that their borders are protected and the safety of their people is guaranteed while Russia is trying to make aggression and theft of other people’s lands a global norm,” the President of Ukraine emphasized.

He emphasized that the cessation of Russian terror and the withdrawal of Russian troops from the entire territory of Ukraine is the only thing that can stop this war.

“Ukraine and the whole world do not need either ‘frozen’ conflicts or smoldering wars. We need peace,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated.

He presented the Ukrainian formula for peace to the African leaders and informed them how the specific points of the formula would lead to the restoration of full security for Ukraine and all other states and peoples who suffer from the consequences of Russian aggression in one way or another.

“Food security, radiation safety, maritime safety, stability of global markets and social peace in the world – all this is possible only when there is no aggression and when the peace formula is implemented. All the nations of the world deserve to live freely, without imposing someone else’s will by military or political means,” the President noted.

Ukraine rolled out a 10-step plan for peace last November and is gaining support to hold a global peace summit on its basis ahead of the NATO meeting in Vilnius.

Putin still invited to BRICS summit

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African leaders and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv. Photo: president.gov.ua

President Ramaphosa further stated that he expects Vladimir Putin’s “arrival” for participation at the BRICS summit in August, despite South Africa being obligated to arrest and extradite him to the International Criminal Court. He mentioned that the issue of Putin’s visit will be discussed during their bilateral meeting on Saturday.

The BRICS summit, scheduled to take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August, comprises an informal association of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. PIt should be noted that South Africa ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which issued an arrest warrant for Putin in March due to his involvement in the mass deportation of Ukrainian children from the occupied territories. This has placed the country in a delicate position as the Rome Statute requires member states to arrest anyone subject to an arrest warrant.

Upon the ICC’s ruling, South Africa announced it would consult Russia on the matter and invited Putin to attend via Zoom. However, as seen from the statements in Kyiv, South Africa is willing to host Putin in person.

Ramaphosa said back in March that South Africa should withdraw from the International Criminal Court, but later his office announced it was a mistake.

This is not the first attempt by South Africa to withdraw from the ICC. The state tried to do so in 2016 after it ignored an arrest warrant for former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in 2015.

South Africa has been accused of supporting Russia in its war against Ukraine, despite claiming neutrality, by supplying weapons and ammunition and participating in naval driils with Russia and China.

The trip of African leaders, who are expected to meet Putin on 17 June, is being supported by the Brazzaville Foundation, a London-based non-profit organization that supports African initiatives for peace, development, and environment. Apart from South African President Cyril RamaphosaComoros leader and African Union Chairperson Azali AssoumaniPresident of the Republic of Congo Denis Sassou NguessoPresident of Uganda Yoweri Museveni, President of Senegal Macky Sall, and President of Zambia Hakainde Hichilema are participating in the trip.

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