A delegation of seven African leaders led by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa visited Ukraine on Friday, where they will meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky. The delegation will then travel to Russia, where they are scheduled to meet Vladimir Putin this Saturday in St. Petersburg. The purpose of the mission is to try to open negotiations for peace with special emphasis on the grain issue.
African leaders – from South Africa, Senegal, Egypt, Uganda, Zambia, Congo and Comoros – paid tribute to Ukrainian victims of Russian occupation in the town of Bucha near Kiev in the first official act of their trip.
“Heads of state and government visited the mass grave behind St. Andrew’s Orthodox Church, where 458 civilians who were lost in the early stages of the conflict were buried,” the South African president wrote.
Later, the delegation moved to Kyiv, where they visited another war memorial together with the representative of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.
Behind this process is the Brazzaville Foundation, an organization created in 2014 that represents one of the great successes in the history of mediation. Its founder, French businessman Jean-Yves Olivier, was one of the people responsible for the independence of Namibia, the release of Nelson Mandela and the end of apartheid in South Africa.
Olivier has been trying to start these negotiations for half a year. In December 2022, he traveled to Russia for the first time with other members of the Foundation to open mediation. In February 2023, he did the same in Ukraine, and immediately the team stopped in Addis Ababa to coincide with the African Union summit and organized a parallel meeting to select the delegation of countries responsible for the process.
The director of the foundation, Richard Amalvi, explained to elDiario.es that the delegation of countries has been carefully selected. “Western countries have sometimes been critical of these countries, but now we see that they have the ability to dialogue precisely because of how they positioned themselves before,” he says. “Uganda and South Africa are closer to Russia; Egypt and Congo are neutral; Zambia expressed sympathy for Ukraine; And Senegal has very good relations with Western countries,” he assures us.
Source: El Diario