A delegation of African leaders embarked on a peace mission on Friday in hopes of paving the way for peace talks between Ukraine and Russia to end the conflict.
The African delegation, which includes leaders from South Africa, Zambia and Senegal, as well as High Representatives from the Comoros, Uganda and Egypt, was due to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday in Kiev, then meet on Saturday in Saint Petersburg with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The African peace mission had already hit a snag when the heads of state of Congo, Egypt and Uganda stepped down this week, opting to deploy their delegates instead.
President Sassou-Nguesso tried to persuade the other mediators to postpone the peace mission on the grounds that the launch of Ukraine’s counter-offensive against Russia had made a visit to Kiev too dangerous, but the other three Presidents ignored this call and decided to continue their mission.
The mission could propose a series of “confidence-building measures” in early mediation efforts, according to a draft framework document that says the mission’s objective is to “promote the importance of peace and encourage parties to agree on a process of negotiations led by diplomacy”.
According to this document, these measures could include a withdrawal of Russian troops, the withdrawal of tactical nuclear weapons from Belarus, the suspension of the execution of an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court against Putin and the easing of sanctions.
A cessation of hostilities agreement could follow and should be accompanied by negotiations between Russia and the West, it is said.