Connect with us

POLITICS

African leaders start peace mission in Ukraine despite Russian missile barrage

Published

on

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Naledi Pandor, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ukraine's Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin and President of the Union of Comoros Azali Assoumani visit a church at a site of a mass grave, in the town of Bucha, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, outside of Kyiv, Ukraine June 16, 2023. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said after meeting African leaders in Kyiv on Friday that peace talks with Russia would be possible only after Moscow withdraws its forces from occupied Ukrainian territory.

And Zelenskiy said he failed to understand what could be gained from the leaders meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday in St Petersburg, Russia’s second city.

“…This is their decision, how logical it is, I don’t really understand,” he told reporters.

Zelenskiy’s comments signalled no change in Ukraine’s long-held stance on peace talks, despite the African delegation’s hopes of mediating an end to the war that has raged since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.

“To allow any negotiations with Russia now while the occupier is on our land is to freeze the war, to freeze everything: pain and suffering,” Zelenskiy told a joint press conference with the delegation.

Advertisement

“We need real peace, and therefore, a real withdrawal of Russian troops from our entire independent land.”

Ukraine stood by its own peace initiative, based on a complete Russian withdrawal, but invited the African leaders to take part in an international peace summit that is being drawn up.

The delegation, including leaders of Senegal, Egypt, Zambia, South Africa and the Comoros, met Zelenskiy after being greeted in Kyiv by a volley of Russian missiles.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the leaders had come “to share the African perspective” and saw talks with Russia as part of the mission.

He recalled that South Africa’s former president Nelson Mandela favoured negotiations and that “even when the conflict becomes most intense, that is when peace should be made”.

Advertisement

CALL FOR FREE FLOW OF GRAIN

The President of the Comoro Islands, Azali Assoumani, current chair of the African Union, said the leaders had no right to steer clear of negotiations.

“It is not in our interest to simply do nothing. That would be cowardly,” he told reporters. “This discussion is absolutely necessary. Let me assure you: we understand your pain. We have lived through it. And we will have a discussion with Putin.”

With Kyiv and Moscow courting the Global South, the African leaders see a chance to mediate in a war that has hit African countries by disrupting grain and other food supplies and aggravating price inflation.

Ramaphosa said African countries were prepared to participate further in a peace pact in Ukraine, and called for the free flow of grain. Ukraine is a major global producer and exporter in peacetime.

African nations have largely remained neutral on the Ukraine war. Some, notably South Africa, received support from the Soviet Union for their independence movements and have cordial relations with Russia, but most have closer economic links with the United States and Europe.

Advertisement

The African leaders are seeking agreement on a series of “confidence building measures” even as Ukraine last week began a counteroffensive to push back Russian forces from Ukrainian territory they occupy.

The Kremlin has played down the chances of meaningful peace talks with Kyiv. It says conditions for a peace process are not in place, but that it is ready to listen and is open to outside initiatives.

-Reuters

Advertisement

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

POLITICS

King Mohammed VI Invites Tinubu To Morocco –

Published

on

1678458348_816_52e605f5-tinubu-and-mohammed-vi.png

Morocco’s monarch, King Mohammed VI has invited Nigeria’s President Bola Ahmed Adekunle Tinubu to Morocco after having a telephone conversation with the Nigerian leader. According to a statement  during a phone exchange that took place today.

A statement from the royal palace said that the two leaders discussed the development of bilateral relations between Morocco and Nigeria over the past few years.

The discussion also covered the African-Atlantic Gas Pipeline, which is a structuring project between Nigeria and Morocco that will be a strategic lever for regional integration and socio-economic development for all West African countries.

Initiated in 2016 first by King Mohammed VI and former president of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari, the pipeline aims to promote regional integration and reinforce Africa’s energy security. Morocco is set to host over 1600 kilometers of the project, which is 5,600 kilometers long in total.

King Mohammed VI has frequently emphasized the importance of the project, reiterating Morocco’s commitment to the pipeline project with Nigeria.In November 2023, during a speech the King gave commemorating the Green March, he stressed the potential benefits that the pipeline could bring not only to Africa but also to Europe.

Advertisement




“The Morocco-Nigeria gas pipeline  strategic project is part of that endeavor,” he said, referring to the purpose of the project; to promote regional integration and boost economic growth.
The pipeline is set to connect over 11 countries in the region to benefit from Nigerian gas sources.
Many countries have endorsed the project, including Senegal.

Continue Reading

POLITICS

US reaffirms support for Morocco’s Autonomy Plan on Western Sahara

Published

on

The US State Department has affirmed the country’s support for Morocco on the Western Sahara issue.

In a statement of support issued on Sunday, the Americans remarked: “There is no change in the clear and consistent U.S. position regarding the Moroccan Sahara issue.”

 

The statement is published on the eve of the visit to Morocco of U.S. Assistant Secretary for North Africa Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Joshua Harris, the State Department stressed that during his talks in Rabat, the U.S. official will reiterate that “there is no change in the clear and consistent U.S. position.”

This new reaffirmation of the consistency of Washington’s position provides a scathing denial of the fallacious allegations conveyed by some Algerian media outlets which have insinuated, following the recent visit to Algiers made by the U.S. official, an alleged change in the U.S. position on the Sahara issue.

“The United States fully supports UN Personal Envoy de Mistura in facilitating the negotiations process to achieve a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable solution for the Sahara,” the statement points out.

After recalling that the United States “believes a negotiated political solution should be realized without further delay,” the same source underlines that “the outcome of UN-led negotiations – mutually agreed to by the parties and reflecting their commitment to UN efforts in a spirit of realism and compromise – would constitute the final resolution to this issue.”

“In this regard, the United States continues to view Morocco’s Autonomy Proposal as serious, credible, and realistic,” it says.

The visit to Rabat of Deputy Assistant Secretary Joshua Harris will also focus on the means to further strengthen the U.S.-Morocco partnership in addition to a range of regional security priorities, the statement stress

Continue Reading

POLITICS

Morocco, UAE strengthen ties

Published

on

King Mohammed VI of Morocco and President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates

Morocco’s monarch, King Mohammed VI and United Arab Emirate’s President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Monday engaged in high-level talks aimed at bolstering bilateral cooperation on Monday.

They issued a press release in which both countries highlighted the mutual appreciation and deep-rooted affection.

King Mohammed VI commended President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for successfully overseeing the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 28) held in Dubai.

The meeting showcased the two countries’ shared commitment to boost ties, with emphasis on a multidimensional partnership across many spheres.

King Mohammed VI underscored Morocco’s strides in infrastructure and structural reforms, outlining a vision of economic and social development through strategic investments.

On his part, President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan hailed Morocco’s potential as an investment hub, acknowledging the nation’s diverse assets and conducive business climate. The leaders affirmed their intent to cultivate innovative partnerships, exploring collaborative ventures that would benefit both nations economically and socially.

They also expressed keen interest in implementing joint action plans based on signed agreements, aiming to pioneer common partnerships in regional and international markets.

King Mohammed VI extended gratitude to President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for the UAE’s unwavering support on national issues and Morocco’s development.

The talks concluded with an optimistic outlook, fostering a renewed sense of cooperation and shared aspirations for the future.

Following the talks, the two leaders signed a joint declaration, committing to boosting bilateral ties and cooperation in a wide range of sectors.

The declaration is titled “Towards an Innovative, Renewed, and Deep-rooted Partnership,” and aims to strengthen ties between the two countries through win-win economic ties.

The declaration’s text indicates that King Mohammed VI’s visit to the UAE came at the invitation of Al Nahyan.

“During their bilateral talks… the two Heads of State reiterated their firm and resolute commitment to elevate the relations between the two countries and their mutual cooperation towards broader horizons, through active economic partnerships serving their shared supreme interests, generating progress and prosperity for the two brotherly peoples,” the declaration reads.

The declaration expresses the two countries’ desire to work towards elevating bilateral ties in economic, commercial, investment, and industrial aspects to the “level of deep political” ties to serve the development goals of both countries.

The two countries also aspire to establish a model of comprehensive and balanced economic and investment cooperation open to the private sector, attracting benefits for both.

 

Continue Reading

Most Viewed