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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

African Peace Plan for Ukraine has ‘no buyer’ as both sides show no interest in Peace Talks

Moscow, Russia, June 18:  An African peace delegation, led by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Senegalese President Macky Sall, along with leaders from Comoros, Zambia, and Egypt, recently visited Ukraine and Russia in an effort to suggest a ‘Peace Plan’ for Ukraine crisis consisting of “confidence-building measures”.

However, their diplomatic efforts were met with disappointment as both Kyiv and Moscow showed no inclination towards engaging in peace talks.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky emphasized that peace negotiations with Russia would only be possible if Moscow completely withdrew its forces from the occupied Ukrainian territories.

Zelensky, in line with Ukraine’s existing ‘no negotiations policy, launched a counteroffensive last week to reclaim the Ukrainian territory currently occupied by Russian forces.

Following a meeting with African leaders in Kyiv, he expressed his scepticism about the benefits of meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg, stating that he failed to comprehend the potential gains from such a dialogue.

The meeting in St. Petersburg between the African leaders and Putin led to a rebuttal of key elements of the African peace plan for Ukraine. Putin presented a list of reasons why he believed many of the proposals were based on misguided facts.

He reiterated his stance that the conflict had been initiated by Ukraine and its Western allies before Russia deployed its armed forces across the border in February last year.

Moreover, Putin emphasized that Russia had never refused talks with Ukraine, but rather it was Kyiv that had obstructed the dialogue. Moscow has consistently asserted that any peace agreement must account for the “new realities,” which includes Russia’s annexation of five Ukrainian provinces, four of which it only partially controls—a position that Kyiv vehemently opposes.

As both Kyiv and Moscow sought to garner global support, the African leaders saw an opportunity to mediate in a conflict that has adversely affected the Global South by disrupting grain and other food supplies and leading to food-fuel-fertilizer inflation.

Ukraine was a significant source of wheat and other grains, while Russia served as a major supplier of fuel and fertilizers, all of which suffered disruptions due to the war and subsequent sanctions.

Consequently, the Global South, as a victim of these disruptions, has been calling for a peaceful resolution of the crisis.

Despite the pleas from the Global South for a peaceful resolution, both Russia and Ukraine seem more focused on garnering support and accusing each other of causing disruptions in food supplies and contributing to rising inflation.

Neither party appears interested in resolving even the issue of supply chain disruptions.

Among the neutral voices in the Ukraine war, India and South Africa have emerged as leaders, refusing to take sides and instead advocating for a peaceful settlement of the crisis.

As the search for peace continues, the prospect of a resolution remains uncertain.

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