The leaders of seven African states are planning to visit Moscow and Kiev together Mzuvukile Jeff Maqetuka, South Africa’s ambassador to Russia © RT

A number of African leaders have plans to visit Russia and Ukraine, with the aim of persuading President Vladimir Zelensky to initiate negotiations with Moscow, South Africa’s Ambassador to Russia Mzuvukile Maqetuka told TASS on Tuesday.

The heads of state of Egypt, South Africa, the Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Senegal, Zambia and the Comoros are members of this peace initiative.

Maqetuka believes it is “only a question of rhetoric” how to “deal with the decree” signed by Zelensky that prevents him from negotiating with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“African leaders will work on how to solve this problem. Therefore, the next round of talks will start in Kiev. The heads of state will go there to convey the position voiced by Putin in (St.) Petersburg, and then will go to Russia and, hopefully, be able to present a solution to the problem,” the diplomat added.

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Such a visit could take place after elections are held in South Africa this summer, Maqetuka noted.

Last June, the leaders of the seven countries visited Kiev and Saint Petersburg and presented a 10-point peace initiative.

This called for the de-escalation of the conflict on both sides, diplomatic negotiations, ensuring the sovereignty of states in accordance with the UN Charter, a prisoner exchange, and post-war reconstruction.

In response to some of these points, Putin pointed out that Kiev itself had withdrawn from negotiations with Moscow.

Earlier, South Africa called on Kiev to invite Russia to meetings devoted to the discussion of the “formula of peace.”