NewsAfricaAntony Blinken in Africa to counter Russian influence

    Antony Blinken in Africa to counter Russian influence

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in South Africa on Sunday and is due to travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda next. An African tour intended to thwart Russian diplomatic influence.

    After Moscow and Paris, Washington in turn wants to strengthen its ties with Africa. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in South Africa on Sunday (August 7th), the first leg of an African tour designed to counter growing Russian diplomatic influence, which will also take him to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

    This visit comes shortly after the African tour of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who visited Congo-Brazzaville, Egypt, Ethiopia and Uganda in July. At the same time, French President Emmanuel Macron was traveling to Benin, Cameroon and Guinea-Bissau.

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    Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, South Africa, a leading country among developing countries, has adopted a neutral position in the conflict, refusing to respond to Western calls to condemn Moscow. Pretoria has long been a partner of Moscow, particularly within the group of emerging economies BRICS, which also includes Brazil, India and China.

    In June, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the Brics to cooperate in the face of “selfish actions” by Western countries, amid unprecedented sanctions against Moscow over the Ukrainian conflict.

    Monday, August 8, Antony Blinken is due to meet with South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor and make announcements about the US government’s new African strategy, Pretoria said in a statement. The talks “will address recent and ongoing developments regarding the global geopolitical situation”, Pretoria added.

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    According to Fonteh Akum, head of the think tank Institute for Security Studies, based in Pretoria, Antony Blinken’s visit will help the United States to understand South Africa’s position but it also aims to “bring Africa closer to South of the western camp”. With its new African strategy, the United States seeks to “increase diplomatic engagements”, he believes.

    Antony Blinken will aim to show “African countries that they have an essential geostrategic role and are crucial allies on the most burning issues of our time, from the promotion of an open and stable international system to the fight against effects of climate change, food insecurity and global pandemics,” the State Department said in late July.

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    Second tour in two years

    After Johannesburg, Antony Blinken must go to the Democratic Republic of Congo, then to Rwanda, in the grip of renewed tensions with his Congolese neighbor who accuses him of supporting the rebels of the “Movement of March 23” (M23), which Kigali denies.

    This is Antony Blinken’s second trip to sub-Saharan Africa since taking office. Last year he visited Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal.

    Prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, US diplomacy in Africa focused primarily on competition with China, which has made significant investments in infrastructure on the African continent. Contrary to Washington, Beijing did it without asking States for a counterpart on democracy or human rights.

    With AFP

    Source: France 24

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