A delegation of six African leaders is expected to arrive in Poland on Thursday as they begin a trip to Kyiv, Ukraine on a mission to mediate the Russia-Ukraine war.
Led by South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, the Heads of State from Comoros, Egypt, Senegal, Congo- Brazzaville, Uganda, and Zambia will be seeking to persuade the countries to end the war.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has, however, said he will not be part of the team.
“I was supposed to have joined them. I have now sent an official message that, on account of my continued corona (virus) status, I cannot join the group,” President Yoweri Museveni said in a statement on Twitter.
He has instead delegated Ruhakana Rugunda, a former prime minister, to represent him.
The leaders will travel to the capital by train.
Last week, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over the phone and briefed him about the “African leaders’ peace mission.”
“President Putin has welcomed the initiative by African heads of state and expressed his desire to receive the peace mission,” a statement from Ramaphosa’s office said last week.
“From Poland, they will go to Russia to meet with the Russians. I wish the mission success,” Museveni said in his statement.
Ramaphosa has held separate phone calls with Vladimir Putin (Russia) and Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Ukraine) who agreed to host the African leaders in Moscow and Kyiv to discuss the peace plan.
According to Ramaphosa, the conflict between the two countries has been devastating and African countries have borne the brunt.
The continent which relies heavily on imports from the countries has been hard hit especially due to the increase in the prices of cereals.
The head of state who initiated the process said their mission is a “mission of peace” and will be seeking to secure a commitment from both sides to end the fighting.
“The Russian and Ukrainian leaders must explain to us their point of view on the war as well as their minimum requirements to end the conflict,” he stated.
Four of the six countries-South Africa, Congo, Senegal, and Uganda abstained from a UN vote last year on condemning Russia’s invasion.
Zambia and Egypt voted in favour of the motion.