Cape Town – South Africa has offered to host the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) facilitated peace talks between Ukraine and Russia.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has also offered to host the IPU talks to end more than a year of conflict since Russia began its “special military operation” in Ukraine.
This announcement that South Africa and the UAE had made the offers was made by SA National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, while tabling a report of the IPU Task Force for Peaceful Resolution of the war in Ukraine at the 146th General Assembly of the IPU held in Manama, Bahrain earlier this week.
Speaker Mapisa-Nqakula is a member of the IPU Task Force, which met for the eighth time since its establishment on 13 March 2023.
In her report, Speaker Mapisa-Nqakula said the IPU team of peace builders had met eight times since its establishment in March 2022, six times virtually, and had a number of individual engagements with high-level parliamentary delegations of both Ukraine and Russia on the side-lines of the Kigali (Rwanda) and the Manama (Bahrain) IPU assemblies as part of ongoing efforts to broker peace.
The IPU Task Force also undertook a physical visit to both Kiev in Ukraine and Moscow in Russia, where negotiations took place with the leadership of both Parliaments to help end the war that has led to untold devastation, a humanitarian crisis and food shortages that affected many nations of the world.
Speaker Mapisa-Nqakula reported that the Task Force engaged a number of multi-lateral organisations including the European Parliament to contribute in bringing the two warring nations closer to each other through negotiations aimed at peacebuilding, ending the war, restoring the territorial integrity of the nations, and bringing an end to the humanitarian crisis caused by the war.
She said hopes remain high that the two-nations parliamentary leadership would agree to an in-person, same-table meeting to pursue a negotiated settlement and an end to the war in Ukraine, with the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of South Africa being ready to play host to such a crucial meeting between Russian and Ukrainian Parliaments.
The IPU Task Force was established following a resolution of the IPU’s 144th Assembly held in Nusa Dua – Indonesia to optimise parliamentary diplomacy as a contribution of global parliamentarians to finding a peaceful resolution of the war in Ukraine by engaging parliamentarians of the warring countries – Russia and Ukraine.
In a related development on Friday media reports said Chinese President Xi Jinping was going to visit Russia on Monday to engage his counterpart, President Vladimir Putin.
Hours later the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that it issued an arrest warrant for Putin and Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova, alleging they were guilty of the war crime of unlawful deportation and transfer of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia.
However, Moscow has rejected the ICC move as “outrageous and unacceptable.