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BRUSSELS: NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Friday welcomed a peace mission by African leaders to Ukraine, but warned only a “just” solution that treats Russia as the aggressor would work.

“I welcome the fact that African leaders have visited Kyiv and I think it is important to know that there are different efforts to find a solution,” Stoltenberg said.

“But of course, any solution has to be a just and enduring peace.”

The head of Western military alliance said, “We have one aggressor that’s President (Vladimir) Putin and Moscow and the Russian forces and then you have a victim of aggression, which is Ukraine.

NATO meeting fails to approve first defence plans since Cold War

“Any efforts to find a peaceful solution have to take that as a starting point as the whole reason why we are in the situation we are today,” he said.

The African delegation arrived by train in Kyiv on Friday morning and began their visit in Bucha, a town outside the capital that has become a symbol of the alleged war crimes carried out by Moscow.

The delegation due to hold talks with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky includes three presidents: South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, Senegal’s Macky Sall and Zambia’s Hakainde Hichilema, plus Comoros’ Azali Assoumani, who heads the African Union.

The high-level team hopes to bring to the table the voice of a continent that has badly suffered from the repercussions of the Ukraine war, including soaring grain prices.

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