South African Amb. Hopes Zelensky Will Be Ready to Negotiate with Putin

1 Mon Ago
South African Amb. Hopes Zelensky Will Be Ready to Negotiate with Putin
African delegation in Kyiv, Ukraine, June 16, 2023 (Reuters)

South African Ambassador to Russia announced the leaders of seven African countries participating in the Ukraine peace initiative, including South Africa, Zambia, Senegal and the Republic of Congo, planned to visit Ukraine and Russia and convince Volodymyr Zelenskyy of the need to begin negotiations with Moscow.

Amb. Mzuvukile Jeff Maketuku told Moscow based TASS that Zelensky’s decree of a law that prevents him from holding peace talks to President Putin could be a potential detriment to the efforts of African leaders.

"[Zelensky] introduced a law that forbids him from negotiating with President Putin. He decreed a law. Now, he was pushing that to the African leaders. It's a rhetorical question as far as I'm concerned. Because now, it will be up to Kiev to respond to the African leaders as to how they are going to resolve that problem. It's up to Kiev. But because the peace initiative seeks to assist in the resolution of that problem, therefore, I am expecting that the next round, when it takes place, it will start again in Kiev with this issue. Because the African leaders have got to go and report to President Zelensky what transpired in St. Petersburg. And then, of course, come back from Kiev to say to Putin, look, there are no issues anymore. Zelensky says this. And our hope is that Zelensky would say, I am ready to negotiate," Amb. Mzuvukile Jeff Maketuku said.

Recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated that his country is ready for to bring a peaceful resolve to the Ukrainian conflict. He also noted that Russia, even after using military means in Ukraine, tried to end the Ukrainian conflict peacefully.

Seconding Putin’s stance, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also noted that now the ball is not in Russia’s court regarding negotiations with Ukraine; Zelensky only needs to lift the ban on dialogue with Moscow.

It is to be recalled that first negotiation team of seven African countries led by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa paid a visit to both Kiev and St. Petersburg in June 2023.

The negotiating team presented a 10-point peace plan including de-escalation of the conflict on both sides and diplomatic negotiations.