South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has briefed Chinese leader Xi Jinping on the upcoming visit by African leaders to Russia and Ukraine in a bid to end hostilities, the South African presidency said Saturday.
Chinese state broadcaster reported that the two leaders had a phone call Friday. In a statement, South Africa’s presidency said Ramaphosa told Xi he noted the peace plan proposed by China and affirmed African leaders’ support for initiatives aimed at a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
“President Xi Jinping commended the initiative by the African continent and acknowledged the impact the conflict has had on human lives and on food security in Africa,” the presidency statement said.
Various peace proposals to end the war have popped up in different capitals as the war has displaced millions of people, propelled food prices and made a dent in world prosperity.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a major push to court the Global South, a term used for the regions of Latin America, Africa and Asia, last month in response to peace moves from some of its members. Ukraine’s stated position for any peace deal is that all Russian troops must withdraw from its territory.
On May 16, Ramaphosa announced the African peace plan, whose details have not been made public. The peace plan is also backed by the leaders of Senegal, Uganda, Egypt, the Republic of the Congo and Zambia.
During Friday’s call, Ramaphosa and Xi had also discussed the summit of emerging economies Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), which is due to be hosted by South Africa in August. South Africa has said it is considering legal options if Russian President Vladimir Putin, the subject of a war crimes arrest warrant, attends the BRICS summit.
The International Criminal Court has issued a warrant for Putin related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and South Africa as an ICC member would be required to arrest him if he attends the summit in Johannesburg.