South Africa's National Assembly Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, is currently participating in a six-day parliamentary diplomatic engagement, in her capacity as a member of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Task Force (IPU-TF) on the Ukrainian-Russian conflict.
The nine-member IPU-TF, appointed in April 2022, will undertake direct engagements with the parliaments of Ukraine and Russia to help achieve a complete ceasefire and to contribute to confidence-building measures that may achieve a long-term cessation of hostilities and the organisation of humanitarian assistance.
Parliamentary spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, said the trip, which follows an invitation by the Ukrainian and Russian parliaments, includes a courtesy call on the Speaker of the Polish Senate in Warsaw, before proceeding to Kyiv and Moscow during the week of 11 July 2022.
Mothapo said the Russia-Ukraine conflict formed part of the emergency items debated during the IPU's 144th Assembly held in Indonesia between 19 and 24 March 2022.
The debate resulted in the adoption of a resolution to form an IPU task team to engage the Parliaments of both countries, thereby joining forces with other mediating parties to end the conflict.
The initiative, at the global parliamentary level, aims to complement ongoing diplomatic efforts at the governmental and UN level.
“According to the IPU, the engagements are also in line with the worldwide association of parliaments' ongoing efforts to help build inclusive and accountable parliaments, where all segments of society have a voice; legislative frameworks are put in place whereby the rights of all citizens are guaranteed, and effective oversight is exercised over governmental action – including in terms of the strict observance of international law and global commitments,” Mothapo said.
Since its establishment, the task force has held four planning and preparatory meetings ahead of the scheduled engagement with the parliaments of Ukraine and Russia.
Mapisa-Nqakula has expressed optimism that the current IPU efforts will help secure a ceasefire, reduce the gap between the two nations and create an enabling environment for a negotiated settlement that will deliver peace between Ukraine and Russia.
“Speaker Mapisa-Nqakula expressed concern at the great suffering the ongoing conflict is causing to both nations and many other world nations that continue to be negatively affected by the dwindling supplies of many basic household necessities and sky-rocketing food prices.
"The Speaker described the IPU mission as another global demonstration of growing parliamentary diplomacy,” Mothapo said.
The IPU delegation is led by the President of the task force, Dr Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, IPU Vice-President and Member of the Federal National Council of the United Arab Emirates.
Participating task force members include Speakers of Parliament from Namibia, South Africa and Uruguay, as well as prominent MPs from Indonesia, Israel and Kazakhstan.
Mapisa-Nqakula is expected back in South Africa on 16 July 2022.
Source: South African Government News Agency