Egyptian President Abdul-Fattah Khalil Al-Sisi and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni refused to go to Russia and meet with Vladimir Putin, whom the International Criminal Court demanded arrest. This was reported by the Ugandan newspaper Daily Monitor and TASS.
Yoweri Museveni was supposed to fly to St. Petersburg after the St. Petersburg Economic Forum (SPIEF) to participate in the peace mission of African leaders. However, according to the newspaper, the president of Uganda fell ill with covid on June 7 and is in self-isolation. In his place, he will send his special envoy, ex-Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, to St. Petersburg.
“I was supposed to join them (the African peace mission
– note TMT) on Thursday. I have officially notified them that because of my illness I cannot join the group. Our country will be represented by Rugunda. He is already in Poland, from where the delegation will go to Russia. I wish this mission success”, the Daily Monitor quoted the president as saying.
Egypt’s president had planned to attend SPIEF, but in the end the state, which acts as a guest country at the forum, downgraded the status of participation to Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli, sources in Cairo told TASS. According to them, lists of delegates are still being compiled and may include about 50 people in total.
A peace mission of six African countries will visit Russia at the end of June. Apart from Uganda and Egypt, it will include representatives from South Africa, Zambia, Senegal, Congo and Comoros. So far, the presidents of these five countries are planning to visit Russia in person.
In March, the International Criminal Court in The Hague (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Putin and presidential commissioner for children’s rights Maria Lvova-Belova. They are suspected of illegally deporting Ukrainian children to Russian-controlled territories, which qualifies as a war crime. The authorities of several countries have publicly pledged to arrest Putin on ICC warrants, including Moldova, South Africa, Germany, and Austria.
The African mission has suggested that Kyiv begin peace talks with Moscow without withdrawing Russian troops from the occupied territories, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesman told Reuters. “First, it’s a cessation of hostilities. Secondly, it is the basis for a lasting peace”, another South African presidential spokesman, Vincent Magvenya, explained the idea.
Ukraine called such a proposal unacceptable. “My president has made it clear. No negotiations between Ukraine and Russia until the Russians leave our territory within internationally recognized borders”, said Ukrainian Ambassador to South Africa Lyubov Abravitova.