By Carlos Lopes Pereira
The author, a former member of the Secretariat of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC), writes of African events for Avante!, the newspaper of the Portuguese Communist Party. Translation: John Catalinotto.
A meeting of the leaders of four African organizations was held this week in Luanda, [Angola], with the aim of coordinating peace initiatives regarding the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Participating were heads of state from the East African Community, the Economic Community of Central African States, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and the Southern African Development Community, as well as officials from the African Union and United Nations observers.
Preceded by preparatory meetings of foreign, defense and interior ministers from the countries involved, the quadripartite forum discussed the coordination of efforts essential to the achievement of peace in Eastern Congo. This former Belgian colony, due to the greed aroused by its immense natural wealth, has been plagued for decades by interference, coups, aggressions and wars, especially in the east of its vast territory.
This summit was the latest step taken by the continent’s countries to fulfill the commitment to “silence the weapons in Africa,” a goal that is still far from being achieved.
But the African states — while demanding greater and better representation in multilateral organizations such as the U.N. Security Council, and demanding the reform of institutions at the service of the great “Western” powers, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank — are increasingly intervening in the search for peace not only in Africa but also in other parts of the world.
An example of this is the African mission that went to Kiev and Moscow, seeking to contribute to the solution of the conflict in Ukraine. This conflict threatens to escalate into a war of even greater proportions and already affects Africa by blocking the export of Russian grain and fertilizers to countries on the continent.
The mission consisted of the heads of state of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa; of Senegal, Macky Sall; of Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema; of the Comoros and also of the African Union, Azali Assoumani; as well as the prime minister of Egypt, Mostafa Madbuli; and representatives of Uganda and Congo.
Mission met with Zelensky, then Putin
The mission met with the president of Ukraine, Volodymir Zelensky, June 16 in Kiev, and the next day, in Moscow, with the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin. It presented a proposal for resolving the crisis that includes 10 points on security guarantees, freedom of movement of grain through the Black Sea, release of prisoners of war and the immediate start of negotiations between the two sides.
For Ramaphosa, the proposal presented by the African leaders “established the basis for future interactions that will help find the path to peace and resolve this devastating conflict.” Putin said that Russia “welcomes the balanced approach to the conflict by African countries” and indicated that the development of relations with African states is a “priority” for Moscow.
From July 26-29, the Second Russia-Africa Summit and an Economic and Humanitarian Forum will take place in St. Petersburg [Russia], an event that African and Russian diplomats have been jointly preparing. It will certainly be an occasion to strengthen the already long-standing Russian-African cooperation and an opportunity for Africa to continue to contribute to the search for world peace.