Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.
Officials from the United States met with their South African counterparts in Pretoria, South Africa, on Wednesday, and discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said in March that his country had been approached to play the role of mediator in the devastating war that has left thousands of people dead and millions forcibly displaced.
Officially, American officials would only acknowledge in a statement that they discussed ‘global peace and security’ but an official told Today News Africa that they discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and that a possible mediation role by South Africa came up.
On April 9, U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. spoke with President Ramaphosa and both leaders discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Their phone call came just weeks after Mr. Ramaphosa asserted that NATO provoked Russia into invading Ukraine by expanding eastward despite warnings from amongst its own members and officials.
Barely two weeks after Biden’s call, United States National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke with South African National Security Advisor Sydney Mufamadi on April 26 and both leaders discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as well as other issues, including recent deadly floods in Kwa Zulu Natal.