Ukraine seeks Africa’s support for Zelensky’s ‘peace plan’

Saturday May 27 2023
Dmytro Kuleba

Ukranian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba holds a press conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on May 24, 2023. PHOTO | AMANUEL SILESHI | AFP


Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who arrived in Addis Ababa Wednesday, asked African countries to support a 10-point peace plan proposed by President Volodymyr Zelensky.

It is the second time in six months that Ukraine is calling on African countries to back it up. Kuleba visited Africa last year but cut short the trip as the country’s crisis arose.

“Today, on this day of unity (Africa Day), I would like to ask you to support the unity of Ukraine by supporting the peace formula proposed by President Zelensky," Kuleba said in a video message conveyed on Thursday from the African Union headquarters.

"This is the only way to restore peace in Ukraine and prevent future wars."

President Zelensky's 10-point peace plan addresses issues like global food security, radiation and nuclear safety, energy security and the release of all prisoners and deportees.

It also calls for the restoration of Ukrainian territorial integrity, a withdrawal of Russian troops and an end to all hostilities.


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"Even during this dark time of war, Ukraine spares no effort to maintain its role as a food security guarantor for Africa and many other regions of the world" said Kuleba.

A day earlier, during a press conference in Addis Ababa, Kuleba had urged African countries to stop staying neutral on the ongoing conflict with Russia.

Kuleba said Ukraine was "very upset that some African countries chose to abstain" and called them to lend Ukraine diplomatic support "in the face of Russian aggression."

"Neutrality is not the answer," he told reporters.

"By being neutral towards Russian aggression against Ukraine, you project your neutrality onto broader violations and mass crimes that may occur very close to you, if not happen to you," he added.

Read: US envoy accuses SA of supplying arms to Russia

Last week, South Africa said it was leading a group of African countries to try mediation between Russia and Ukraine. Neither of the two countries have expressed willingness to hold dialogue under leadership of African countries but South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said he had spoken to both Zelensky and Russian leader Vladimir Putin on the issue.

Kuleba admitted that his country has paid a price for paying little attention to Africa.

"Ukraine's relations with African countries have not received proper attention in our foreign policy for years and we have lost a lot," he said hinting the neutrality of African countries in the conflict was a result of this.

He said Ukraine wants to have a better relationship with African nations and Kiev has recently adopted its first African strategy.

"We want to develop a new quality of partnership based on three mutual principles: mutual respect, mutual interests, and mutual benefits".

“Today, Ukraine is reinvigorating its foreign policy towards Africa aimed at a Ukrainian-African renaissance,” according to the Ukrainian minister.