plot for peace

The discreet role of Ivor Ichikowitz in African mediation between Putin and Zelensky

By The Africa Report

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Posted on June 16, 2023 11:41

Ivor Ichikowitz
South African businessman Ivor Ichikowitz © Wikipedia 

A long-standing friend of French businessman and self-styled philanthropist Jean-Yves Ollivier, African arms baron Ivor Ichikowitz had a part to play in organising the mediation that African leaders are aiming to establish between Russia and Ukraine.

On 5 June, Presidents Macky Sall, Yoweri Museveni, Cyril Ramaphosa, Azali Assoumani, Hakainde Hichilema, and Abdel Fattah al-Sisi held a videoconference with businessman Jean-Yves Ollivier.

The aim was to set a date for their trip to Kiev and Moscow, where they were due to meet Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Vladimir Putin. The President of the Brazzaville Foundation, who initiated this mediation attempt, shared his screen with a lifelong friend, the South African Ivor Ichikowitz.

From Moscow to Johannesburg

Ichikowitz is the founder of the Paramount Group, one of the continent’s leading arms vendor, based in South Africa. According to our information, the continental leaders present at this remote meeting personally thanked Ichikowitz for his contribution to the organisation of this mediation, which, after a long period of scepticism, is now underway on 16 June.

Between 22 May and 5 June, Ollivier flew to Moscow and Kiev, then on to Cairo, Brazzaville, Dakar, Kampala, Lusaka, and Johannesburg. The purpose of these visits was to coordinate the agendas of the heads of state who will make up the delegation. Denis Sassou Nguesso’s presence is still uncertain, and Ichikowitz will not be taking part in the trip.

The businessman (who styles himself as a philanthropist) met Ollivier during the years of the struggle against the apartheid regime, where he was then able to draw on the Frenchman’s network to develop his activities in French-speaking Africa, particularly in the Congolese Republic, Gabon, and Togo.

His foundation also financed Plot for Peace, a documentary retracing the itinerant steps of the Brazzaville Foundation’s chairman.

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