Ramaphosa declares Africa-Russia relations can move forward after ‘most successful’ meeting
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has concluded a “most successful” meeting in Russia between leaders from Africa and Russia. Ramaphosa was in Russia to discuss the two countries’ bilateral relationship, particularly regarding energy, industry, and agriculture.
A video snippet from Ramaphosa’s speech to President Vladimir Putin at Konstantinovsky Palace in St. Petersburg has gone viral, in which the South African leader declares how “very, very good” the discussions were.
“We believe that it was successful – MOST successful. It was well organised, and the outcome is very, very good,” Ramaphosa said to Putin. “The Declaration was well negotiated and well crafted, and it represents the views that the various countries that were here put forward, together with your views. And I believe that we’ve got a Declaration that can take our relationship between Africa and Russia forward…”
Of the Russia Ukraine conflict, Ramaphosa said “last night we met as leaders to further discuss the Africa Peace Initiative on Russia and Ukraine with President Putin.” He tweeted: “As South Africa, we are steadfast in our position that negotiation, dialogue and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter are necessary for the peaceful and just resolution of conflict. It is our hope that constructive engagement and negotiation can bring about an end to the ongoing conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.
“As South Africa our own history has taught us that this is indeed possible. We look forward to this second Russia-Africa Summit playing a key role in supporting our objectives of African integration, economic growth, peace and common prosperity.”
The Summit took place on the 27th and 28th July, aiming to foster mutually beneficial cooperation and partnerships between Russia and Africa.
President Putin taking African Peace Initiative proposals into consideration…
Russian President Vladimir Putin has assured the seven African leaders involved in the African Peace Initiative that he has carefully reviewed their proposals and is genuinely committed to addressing the issue at hand. President Putin was speaking in St. Petersburg on Friday evening during a working dinner, where he hosted President Cyril Ramaphosa, along with six Heads of State from Senegal, Zambia, the Comoros (which is currently chairing the African Union), Egypt, the Republic of Congo, and Uganda.
“President Ramaphosa, as one of the co-authors of the African Peace Initiative, came up with concrete proposals and shared them. We have given careful thought to the suggestions put forth by our African friends.
“We are very serious about that and we have given great attention to this matter. We hope, colleagues, that you understand very well the nature and the origins of this crisis,” President Putin said.
Following President Putin’s remarks, the seven prominent African leaders engaged in the African Peace Initiative addressed him, asserting their legitimate right to advocate for peace as the ongoing conflict in Ukraine directly affects the continent. Citing the direct and adverse impact of the crisis on the continent, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa emphasised that the leaders are steadfast in their commitment to fostering stability and advocating for peace.
“We stand on the side of peace, and even in this case with the conflict in the Ukraine, we still advocate for peace.
“We feel that we have a right to call for peace because the ongoing conflict also negatively affects us as African countries. Apart from wanting to support a peace process all over the world, this conflict is now directly affecting us as well,” the President said.
President Ramaphosa conveyed to President Putin that, as previously mentioned, food security remains a significant concern. He highlighted the escalating prices of fertilisers in African countries, leading to an increase in the cost of living across the region.
“The cost of living in many of our countries has gone up and we do believe that it is in the interest of humanity and the people of Russia and Ukraine that there should be peace and this conflict should be settled in a peaceful manner,” he said.
The African Heads of State acknowledged President Putin’s explanation regarding the origins and beginning of the conflict, while expressing satisfaction that he recognises the peace initiative. The leaders further noted President Putin’s consideration of their proposal, particularly their call for engagement, which was presented to him last month in St. Petersburg.
“We are, however, pleased to hear you say you recognise the initiative that we, as seven African countries, have taken and you take this initiative by the seven countries very seriously. You have given due consideration and regard to the proposals that we put forward and you will recall that we said we would like engagement,” President Ramaphosa said.
The African leaders further emphasised that they stand firm on respect for the United Nations Charter and principles, which they also have appropriated as African Union.
“We do believe that those principles should be respected, and we are pleased to hear you say exactly the same thing. We are pleased to hear you also say that our ideas resonate with your ideas and they also coincide with the ideas that have been put forward by others,” President Ramaphosa said.
He conveyed to President Putin that during their conversation, the Russian President addressed certain points mentioned in the African proposals, specifically concerning grain. They proposed the implementation of the Black Sea initiative, aiming to open the Black Sea to the global market.
President Ramaphosa further emphasised that their intention was not to seek donations for the African continent during the meeting.
“We were not coming to plead for donations for the African continent. We do recognise that out of the generosity of the heart of the Russian Federation, you have decided to donate grain to a number of countries on the continent that are facing challenges with respect to that and we accept that,” the President said.