African Union President Macky Sall Visits Russia to Talk to Vladimir Putin

African Union President Macky Sall Visits Russia to Talk to Vladimir Putin

Senegalese President Macky Sall, the current president of the African Union (AU), will travel to Russia on Thursday (June 2nd) to hold talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Friday, his services said in a statement. This visit “Is part of the AU Presidency’s ongoing efforts to help calm the war in Ukraine and free up the stockpiles of grain and fertilizer, the blockade of which is particularly affecting African countries.”they said.

The visit is at Putin’s invitation, they added. Mr. Sall will be accompanied by the Chairman of the AU Commission, Chadian Moussa Faki Mahamat. “In the same vein, the AU has accepted President Volodymyr Zelensky’s request to send a message to the organization by videoconference, the date and terms of which will be agreed upon.”they say.

Also read: The European Union is under pressure from Africa to release blocked grains in Ukraine

In a message to European leaders in Brussels on Tuesday, the Senegalese president called for everything to be done. “To free up available grain stocks” in Ukraine but blocked due to the Russian offensive, which organized a blockade on the Black Sea and banned access to the port of Odessa. He mentioned “The catastrophic scenario of shortages and widespread price increases”. He stressed that the current crisis follows that of Covid-19 and that it has already exacerbated hunger in Africa.

“Perhaps the worst is before us”

“Perhaps the worst is before us”, he said, recalling that many African countries, including his own, are heavily dependent on grain imports from the region. He was also concerned about the consequences of European sanctions excluding Russian banks from the international Swift system, a secure messaging platform that allows crucial operations such as money transfer orders.

Also read: African Union President Macky Sall “seriously concerned” over tensions between Rwanda and DRC

The Senegalwith strong relations with Western countries, had surprised on March 2 by abstaining in a UN General Assembly vote in favor of a resolution calling for “Russia immediately ceases to use force against Ukraine”. Senegal, on the other hand, had passed a second resolution on March 24 demanding an immediate ceasefire with Russia. Nearly half of the African countries had abstained or did not vote in both polls.

Mr Sall said in a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Dakar in late May that the conflict “Affects” Africans but it takes place “On another continent”. He had said, however “Condemn the invasion”more explicitly than in the past.

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The World with AFP

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