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Ramaphosa to further engage Zelensky and Putin

todayJune 19, 2023 65

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President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa continues to maintain that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine should be settled through negotiation and diplomatic means.

In his weekly newsletter, Ramaphosa says the presidents of the two warring countries, Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Vladimir Putin have agreed to further engagements.

Ramaphosa and several African heads of state descended on the two countries in a bid to facilitate peace talks in the 16-month-long conflict.

The President says the conflict has caused instability, precipitated a humanitarian crisis and sent shockwaves through vulnerable economies.

“The toll on human life, the extensive destruction and the ripple effect it has had on the global economy mean that no country has been shielded.”

Ramaphosa is of the view that the mission was impactful, adding that its success will however be measured by the ultimate objective of putting an end to the war.

“One of the key achievements of the Peace Mission was the positive reception we received from both sides,” says Ramaphosa.

The President’s visit to the warring countries has been met with much criticism.

Leader of the Democratic Alliance, John Steenhuisen, says Ramaphosa must be held accountable for the millions of rands in taxpayer funds wasted on his failed PR stunt.

“We will be submitting a full set of questions to the Presidency to obtain a detailed breakdown of the security detail accompanying President Ramaphosa on this trip, as well as the total cost to the South Africa taxpayer,” says Steenhuisen.

Steenhuisen says it is now clear for all to see that this trip was designed to spin Ramaphosa out of trouble over his ongoing support for Putin.

The new kid on the political block, Rise Mzansi, has labelled the peace mission as a pricey, disorganised and ill-informed public relations exercise that will yield nothing for South Africa and its 60 million people.

The party’s president, Songezo Zibi, says successful peace efforts usually have the support of countries that support either of the two warring countries.

“In this case, the peace mission needed to have the strong support of the United States (US) and China, both of whom have the ear of Ukraine and Russia respectively,” says Zibi.

Zibi says the country’s international interest and international reputation cannot be treated like an internship programme for incompetent politicians.

The South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) has on the other hand lamented the treatment that journalists were subjected to during the Africa Peace mission.

SANEF’s Executive Director, Reggy Moalusi, says the poor planning by the President’s team and the hindrance of journalists from carrying out their duty of reporting are embarrassing.

Eleven journalists and members of the President’s security detail were left stranded in Poland after they were barred for allegedly carrying undeclared dangerous goods on board.

Written by: Lindiwe Mpanza

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