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Blink to counter the Russian charm offensive in Africa

#Blink #counter #Russian #charm #offensive #Africa

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda next month, the State Department announced Friday, as Washington ramps up diplomacy in Africa to counter a Russian charm offensive.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield will also travel to Ghana and Uganda in August, and US aid director Samantha Power recently completed a trip to longtime US ally Kenya as well as troubled one Somalia, where she highlighted the increase in malnutrition, exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The diplomacy comes as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov embarks on his own extensive trip to Africa, where he has attempted to provoke rising global food prices in the wake of Western sanctions, a hypothesis rejected by Washington.

Blinken will send a message that “African countries are geostrategic actors and crucial partners in the most pressing issues of our time, from fostering an open and stable international system, to tackling the impacts of climate change, food insecurity and global pandemics, to shaping our technology.” and economic future,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

South Africa, a leading country in the developing world, has become a key diplomatic battleground as it has staunchly remained neutral in the Ukraine war and refuses to join Western calls to condemn Moscow, which still shows affection for its opposition to the Apartheid enjoys.

Blinken will visit Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria from August 7th to 9th. He will then travel to the DRC’s capital, Kinshasa, to demonstrate his support for sub-Saharan Africa’s largest country trying to turn the page of decades of conflict.

He will conclude his trip in Rwanda, where tensions have flared with DR Congo after they accused their neighbor to the east of supporting M23 rebels, an accusation Kigali denies.

The State Department said Blinken will push for the release of Paul Rusesabagina, who is credited with saving hundreds of lives during the 1994 genocide and inspiring the film Hotel Rwanda.

Rusesabagina, a US permanent resident, is a critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame and was sentenced to 25 years in prison for “terrorism” after a plane he believed was going to Burundi landed in Kigali in 2020 was.

Blinken will pay for his second trip to sub-Saharan Africa since taking office last year in President Joe Biden’s administration.

Late last year he traveled to Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal to highlight the democracies.

Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, US efforts in Africa had a strong subtext about competition from China, which has poured money into infrastructure construction on the continent and differentiates itself from the United States by making no demands for democracy or human rights puts.

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#Blink #counter #Russian #charm #offensive #Africa

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