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Putin discusses grain deal with Ramaphosa

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Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)/Taken on June 25, 2023 – President Cyril Ramaphosa. A discussion on peace between presidents Ramaphosa and Vladimir Putin follows Ramaphosa’s call to UN Secretary-general António Guterres on the Black Sea grain deal. The two presidents say they have also discussed the African peace efforts following the visit by African leaders to Kyiv and St Petersburg in June.

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi

President Cyril Ramaphosa has held talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss the grain deal. Putin’s office said the Russian president raised concerns about some of the obligations not being met. Ramaphosa confirmed his discussions with Putin yesterday.

Their discussion came after Ramaphosa’s call to UN Secretary-general António Guterres on the Black Sea grain deal. The two leaders also said they discussed the peace efforts following the visit by African leaders to Kyiv and St Petersburg in June. Putin’s office said the two leaders will continue to discuss the peace talks on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa summit at the end of July in St Petersburg.

Ramaphosa was part of a group of African leaders who visited Ukraine and Russia where they met with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Putin last month. Zelenskyy confirmed on Thursday that he held discussions with Ramaphosa as a follow-up to their meeting last month. Putin’s office said there were hurdles around the grain deal that needed to be removed. “When discussing the Istanbul package agreements Vladimir Putin stressed that the obligations envisaged in the relevant Russia-UN memorandum to remove obstacles to the export of Russian food and fertilisers remained unfulfilled.

“Moreover, the deal’s main goal, to supply grain to countries in need, including those on the African Continent, has not been implemented,” said Putin’s office on the discussions with Ramaphosa. “The discussions also revolved around the African Leaders’ Peace Mission and the need for a permanent and sustainable solution to the movement of grain from Russia and Ukraine to the international markets,” Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said.

Ramaphosa has said in the past the war in Ukraine has led to the increases in food and fuel prices.

siyabonga.mkhwanazi@inl.co.za