US tries to dissuade African leaders from attending Russia-Africa Summit

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By Kevin A. Edwards

According to officials quoted by the Financial Times, the United States is trying to discourage African leaders from attending the upcoming Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg on July 27-28. The U.S. is reportedly pressuring African countries to condemn Russia’s withdrawal from a grain deal, a move that has raised concerns among African countries who wish to continue cooperation with both Russia and the United States in areas such as economy and security.

On July 17, Russia left the grain agreement, which was signed on July 22, 2022 by representatives of Turkey, the UN, Russia and Ukraine. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov explained this by the failure to fulfill the second part of the grain deal, which concerned assistance in the export of Russian products.

The Russian-African summit was originally scheduled to run from July 26 to July 29, but has been shortened to July 27-28 due to “program nuances,” according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that he plans to discuss the development of relations with African countries at the summit, and will meet with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on the sidelines of the event. The two leaders previously met in June as part of a delegation of African leaders visiting Russia on a mediation mission to resolve the conflict in Ukraine.

The Russia-Africa summit is a significant event that aims to strengthen the economic and political ties between Russia and African countries. The summit was first held in 2019 in the city of Sochi and was attended by over 50 African heads of state and government, as well as representatives of hundreds of Russian and African companies.

The focus of the summit is on enhancing cooperation in areas such as energy, agriculture, infrastructure, technology, and security. The summit provides a platform for African countries to showcase their investment opportunities and for Russian companies to explore business opportunities in Africa.

This year’s summit in St. Petersburg is expected to attract a significant number of African leaders and business representatives. The summit will provide an opportunity for Russia to strengthen its economic and political ties with African countries, as well as to showcase its technological and industrial capabilities.

However, the reported pressure from the United States on African countries not to attend the summit could be seen as an attempt to undermine Russia’s efforts to deepen its ties with Africa. The U.S. has been increasingly concerned about Russia’s growing influence in Africa and has been taking steps to counter it.

Despite the pressure, it seems that many African countries are still planning to attend the summit and continue their cooperation with Russia. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has already confirmed his attendance, and other African leaders are expected to follow suit.

Overall, the Russia-Africa summit is an important event that highlights the growing cooperation between Russia and African countries. It provides a platform for both sides to strengthen their economic and political ties, and to explore new opportunities for collaboration.