South Africa stated on Thursday that it is ready to hold peace talks to end the crisis between Russia and Ukraine, after Pretoria's announcement last month of a planned mediation headed by six African leaders in Kyiv and Moscow.
"We must be open to the possibility of South Africa hosting the peace summit here," Minister to the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said following the meeting at a news briefing in Pretoria.
Last month, the southern African country declared mediation with Russia and Ukraine to "find a peaceful solution" to the conflict.
The mission should start in the next weeks. In addition to Pretoria, the delegation includes the leaders of Congo-Brazzaville, Egypt, Senegal, Uganda, and Zambia.
According to President Cyril Ramaphosa's office, the South African president spoke over the phone with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, who "welcomed the initiative of African heads of state" on Thursday.
Ramaphosa had previously stated that the Russian president and Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, had both agreed to accept the African peace mission.
South Africa, which has hesitated to criticise Russia since the outbreak of the Ukrainian conflict, claiming to be "neutral" and in favour of peace, has been chastised on the international stage for its proximity to Moscow.
Since the days of apartheid, Pretoria has maintained tight ties with the Kremlin.
Africa has been heavily impacted by the rise in wheat prices as well as the effects of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on global commerce.
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