South African president to meet with Biden on Friday

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is headed to the United States, where aides say he’s expected to press for more negotiations between Russia and Ukraine during talks with U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday.

Ramaphosa is among the African leaders who have maintained a neutral stance on the war, with South Africa abstaining from a U.N. vote condemning Russia’s actions and calling for a mediated settlement.

South Africa’s international relations minister, Naledi Pandor, said Ramaphosa would emphasize the need for dialogue during meetings with Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

This also will be the country’s focus when it participates at the U.N. General Assembly next week, she said.

“We would want a process of diplomacy to be initiated between the two parties and we believe the U.N. must lead, the U.N secretary-general in particular,” Pandor said.

“We did indicate that we were pleased that the negotiations on the transportation of grain had proceeded well and grain has begun to be transported,” Pandor said. “But in the context of the General Assembly, we will insist that there needs to be greater effort at finding a resolution on this terrible conflict and that the only way to do so would really be through a negotiated settlement.”

Ramaphosa is also expected to travel to the U.K. to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday.

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