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Africa calls for Russia-Ukraine ceasefire as curtains fall on key summit

AU chair shaking hands with Putin

Leaders from the African continent led by the African Union Chairperson are calling for a ceasefire in Ukraine to lower the cost of living.

The end of the Second Russia Africa Summit saw the union call upon the Russian President Vladimir Putin to engage in talks with his Ukrainian counterpart in order to find a lasting solution.

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Earlier, Putin had offered free grain to some parts of the continent in order to plug the deficit caused by the collapse of the grain deal.

Speaking during the closing of the second Russia-Africa Summit Friday evening at St Petersburg, President Azali Assoumani of the Union of Comoros who is the AU chairman said Africa hopes the crisis would be resolved soon.

“I am confident that all my colleagues present here appreciate this cooperation with Russia and are willing to enhance it in the hope that our relations, which have been hindered by the Russia-Ukraine crisis, will resume after its resolution” said the AU chair.

On his part, Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged the concerns even as he hailed the initiative by several African countries to resolve the Ukraine crisis.

“This is an urgent issue and we have never sought to avoid discussing it. The very existence of this initiative is quite telling since the so-called developed democracies used to hold a monopoly when it came to undertaking mediation missions of any kind. But this is no longer the case, and now Africa is ready to help bring about solutions to problems which may seem to lie outside of its immediate sphere of interests” he told the visiting heads of states.

Putin further said he supports the African Union’s accession to international organizations and expects the Union to become a full member of the G20 as early as this September,

“Russia proactively supported the initiative to grant the African Union membership in the Group of 20. This would be the right decision reflecting the reality and the balance of power in today’s world”, he said.

He termed the two day forum a success, promising to double trade with Africa.

Vladimir Putin and Chairperson of the African Union and President of the Union of the Comoros Azali Assoumani

The forum saw the leaders engage in Plenary sessions, numerous bilateral meetings, thematic roundtable discussions and panel sessions on issues of world economics and politics, food and energy security, stable and sustainable development and cultural and humanitarian cooperation.

“We had a meaningful and interested exchange of views on the entire range of strategic cooperation between Russia and African nations” the host said in his concluding remarks.

“In general, we highly value the results of our joint work at the summit. I am sure the achieved results are creating a good foundation for further deepening the Russia-Africa partnership in the interests of our nations’ prosperity and wellbeing”, Putin added.

The leaders drafted and approved the main declaration of the second Russia-Africa Summit and a number of thematic declarations – on preventing an arms race in space, cooperation in international information security, and enhancing cooperation in countering terrorism.

In addition, the plan of action of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum for 2023–2026 is ready for adoption.

The Russia-Africa summits will hence forth be held every three three years. The first was hosted in 2019.

Documents adopted and signed following the second Russia-Africa Summit.

Reporting by Margaret Kalekye

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