By ABDOU KHADIR CISSÉ
Six leaders of the black continent, suffering the repercussions of this war, were invested with a mission of peace in the two countries.
The African emissaries are expected on June 16 and 17 in Ukraine and Russia. They are going to this part of the globe, the scene of a conflict since February 2022, as part of an African peace initiative under the aegis of the Brazzaville Foundation. A British non-governmental organization established in 2014 that works for peace and sustainable development around the world.
The Senegalese Macky Sall, the South African Cyril Ramaphosa, the Zambian Hakainde Hichilema, the Comorian Azali Assoumani (chairman of the African Union) as well as the representatives of the Egyptian Abdel Fattah al-Sissi and the Ugandan Yoweri Museveni must meet in Poland before joining Kiev together by train.
“The Head of State left Dakar this morning “to participate in” a mediation mission aimed at ending the conflict between Russia and Ukraine,” the Senegalese Presidency announced on Twitter yesterday.
The day before, the Zambian Foreign Ministry confirmed President Hichilema’s involvement in this good offices mission, the first stage of which will take place in Boutcha, a Ukrainian town located 25 kilometers northwest of the capital Kiev.
“This initiative builds on Africa’s successful experience in conflict resolution through dialogue and peacebuilding. African leaders aim to encourage open dialogue and negotiations between Russia and Ukraine”, justifies Zambian diplomacy for which” the consequences of the conflict, in particular the disruption of commodity supply chains, will beyond the humanitarian crisis.”
Political science researcher, the Senegalese Mouhamadou Lamine Bara Lô believes that this initiative is a way for Africa to recall that it remains” an entity impacted by the conflict”, but also to position itself as “a geopolitical actor” able to” play a role in current issues”.
The mission will take place in a context marked by a counter-offensive by kyiv. It was launched in early June in southeastern Ukraine to repel the Russian armed forces. For some observers, this situation risks jeopardizing the agreement signed in July 2022 by the belligerents in Turkey. This agreement was particularly favored by the visit, in June of the same year, of Macky Sall, then president of the African Union (AU) and of Moussa Faki Mahamat, president of the Commission of the continental organization.
In principle, this agreement was to release between 20 and 25 million tonnes of grain blocked in Ukraine. In an interview with APA, Yurii Pyvavarov, Ambassador of Ukraine, said that there is “no connection between the counter-offensive and the functioning of the grain corridor for the export of Ukrainian grain to Africa”. According to him, the invaded Ukraine has the “right” to lead a response in order to “liberate (its) territories from the Russian scourge”.
After Kyiv, the high-level delegation will travel to Saint Petersburg, Russia, where it will meet President Vladimir Putin on Saturday June 17. But for Mr. Lô, the African initiative “ lacks mobilizable and effective arguments to move the line.”
Continuing, he assured that “without real levers, there is very little chance of impacting the perception of their interests which would establish the mutual concessions necessary for peace”.
For his part, the Ukrainian diplomat avoids blissful optimism: “I prefer to be realistic. So I don’t trust the Russians. I don’t believe in their promises either,” he said, recalling that no way out of the crisis, apart from a prior commitment by the Kremlin to withdraw its forces from Ukraine, is possible. Our attempts to contact the Russian representation in Dakar were unsuccessful.