14 Jun 2023 23:09

Putin to meet with African delegation on June 17 to discuss Ukraine peace initiative, grain deal - Kremlin

MOSCOW. June 14 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with a delegation of African countries in St. Petersburg on Saturday to discuss their peace initiative on Ukraine and the implementation of the Black Sea grain deal, Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov said.

"A very important international meeting will be held on Saturday, June 17, as the Russian president will receive a delegation of African states in St. Petersburg to discuss the African initiative on a peaceful settlement of the Ukraine conflict," Ushakov told journalists on Wednesday.

The delegation will include the leaders of seven African countries, Ushakov said.

"The delegation will be led by the president of the Union of the Comoros, as he is currently chairing the African Union. Apart from him, the delegation will definitely include President [Cyril] Ramaphosa [of the South African Republic], as one of the active authors of this negotiating concept, the presidents of Zambia, the Republic of the Congo, Senegal, and Uganda, and the prime minister of Egypt," Ushakov said.

Before the negotiations in St. Petersburg, the African delegation would visit Kiev on June 16, Ushakov said. "They'll listen to [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky's judgments, and then, apparently against that backdrop, they'll have a substantive conversation with our president," he said.

Putin had earlier discussed the African peace initiative for Ukraine during a phone call with the South African president.

Ushakov was also asked whether Putin and the African delegation members would discuss the Black Sea grain deal.

"I think this is among the practical issues to be given priority during the discussions. Because the African leaders are interested in continuous grain supplies to the continent. For the time being, this hasn't been accomplished within the framework of the abovementioned Istanbul deal. They are definitely concerned about this," Ushakov said.