Lavrov’s African trip debunks Western misinformation drive

29 Jul, 2022 - 00:07 0 Views
Lavrov’s African trip debunks Western misinformation drive Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov walks with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni after their press conference at the State House in Entebbe, Uganda, this week

The Herald

KAMPALA. – As Africa gets more assertive in choosing its friends, it is opening its doors wider to those who seek relations based on mutual respect and common understanding. This is the basis on which Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov this week toured four African countries.

Lavrov’s main objective in the continent was to debunk the massive Western misinformation campaign surrounding the months-long Russia-Ukraine conflict, particularly on food supply. Commendably, Africa has generally taken a neutral stand, preferring to let the two adversaries solve their differences amiably.

The West is obviously not amused by Russia’s diplomatic foray in Africa. Lavrov’s tour vanquished the one-sided narrative that the West has been selling to the continent in order to isolate Russia both geopolitically and in the current conflict with Ukraine. Africa has refused to take the bait and apparently standing its ground that we are all grown-up now and have a mind of our own.

Going by his statement from a media conference in Cairo with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry on Sunday, Lavrov sought to assure African countries that Russia was cognisant of the impact that his country’s war with Ukraine is having on food security on the continent. He reassured the continent that his government was making a direct intervention on the matter: “We reaffirmed the commitment of Russian grain exporters to meet all their commitments.”

Egypt leads in wheat imports globally to feed its population of over 100 million. Other countries on Lavrov’s itinerary included the Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Ethiopia, which are all heavily dependent on grain imports from both Russia and Ukraine.

Lavrov also sought to counter recent accusations by European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, who claimed that food has become part of the Kremlin’s “arsenal of terror” and is a “calculated siege by [President Vladimir] Putin on some of the most vulnerable countries and people in the world.”

Of course, these claims are sensational, and divert from the fact that the West’s blockade of Russia’s trade has cut off food supply chains.

Blaming Russia for soaring global food prices, which are expected to rise about 20 percent this year, is dishonest. First, there is no sensible reason why Russia would deliberately or maliciously obstruct the sale of grains. While it needs the money, it also needs its allies, majority of which are developing countries.

Secondly, the West is actually sustaining the conflict by its constant supply of weaponry to Ukraine in the guise of helping the country to defend itself. The situation in Ukraine has gone from bad to worse. Russia cannot simply ignore provocations inspired by the West.

Sceptics say there are no free lunches for Ukraine either, and see another angle in the West’s concern about the grain exports from the country. They are of the opinion that the proceeds from the trade will be used to pay for the millions of dollars’ worth of weaponry that is being shipped to the country from the West. ‑


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