Moscow, Jun 17 (EFE).- Russia remains open to negotiations on a resolution to the conflict that began with its invasion of Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin said Saturday in a meeting with officials of seven African nations on a peace mission.
“My dear friends, not we, but the leadership of Ukraine, announced that it would not conduct any negotiations. Moreover the president of Ukraine signed a decree prohibiting these negotiations,” the Russian head of state said in St. Petersburg
“We are ready to consider any of your proposals without preconditions,” Putin told Presidents Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Azali Assoumani of the Comoros, Macky Sall of Senegal, and Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia.
The delegation, which also includes Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and envoys representing the presidents of the Republic of the Congo and Uganda, met Friday in Kyiv with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The purpose of what Ramaphosa described as a “historic” mission was to present to the Ukrainian and Russian governments a 10-point peace plan drawn up by African countries.
“We welcome the balanced approach of African friends to the Ukraine crisis,” Putin told the visitors. “We’re open to constructive dialogue with all those who want peace based on the principles of respect for each other’s interests, as well as justice.”
“This war has to have an end. It must be settled through negotiations and through diplomatic means,” Ramaphosa said during the meeting at Konstantinovsky Palace.
“This war is having a negative impact on the African continent and indeed, on many other countries around the world,” the South African said.
Putin took the opportunity to show the delegation what he said was a draft peace agreement from March 2022.
“I would like to draw your attention to the fact that with (Turkish) President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan’s assistance, as you know, a string of talks between Russia and Ukraine took place in Turkey so as to work out both the confidence-building measures you mentioned, and to draw up the text of the agreement,” Putin said.
“We did not discuss with the Ukrainian side that this treaty would be classified, but we have never presented it, nor commented on it. This draft agreement was initialed by the head of the Kyiv negotiation team. He put his signature there. Here it is,” the Russian president, holding up a piece of paper.
“It was called treaty of permanent neutrality and security guarantees of Ukraine,” Putin said, adding that the document included 18 articles pertaining to Ukraine’s security.
“Well, after we – as promised – withdrew troops from Kyiv, Kyiv authorities … threw it all away,” the Russian president said.