African leaders seeking to broker peace in the Ukraine war are ready to launch their mission “in mid-June,” the South Africa government has announced.
In May, President Cyril Ramaphosa had said Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had each agreed to receive a six-member African peace team.
The African leaders, meeting on Monday, “agreed that they would engage” Putin and Zelensky “on the elements for a ceasefire and a lasting peace in the region,” a statement from Ramaphosa’s office said.
“The presidents confirmed their availability to travel to Ukraine and Russia in mid-June,” it said.
Ramaphosa later told a press conference in Pretoria alongside the visiting Portugese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa that Monday’s meeting “confirmed that we now are at a stage where we are going visit Kyiv and Moscow.”
“Our mission is a peace mission,” he said, “and we want to dub it as a road to peace.”
He said the African leaders would be “seeking to get a commitment on both sides that they too should seek… to end this conflict through peaceful means.”
Foreign ministers from the respective countries will “finalise the elements of a road map to peace,” the presidency said.
The delegation unveiled by Ramaphosa last month comprises the presidents of the Republic of Congo, Egypt, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia.
African countries have been badly hit by rising prices for grain since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a major global source of wheat and other agriculture commodities — and the war’s wider impact on world trade.