AU chief praises Russian efforts in contending Western sanctions
The head of the African Union calls on all parties of the grain deal to facilitate the delivery of Russian and Ukrainian grain to the African Union.
Azali Assoumani, the head of the African Union and president of Comoros, voiced the gratitude of Africa collectively to Russian President Vladimir Putin's assistance in advancing the interests of the continent on international fora, Sputnik reported.
"We are grateful to President Putin because he supports us in the G20 and also supports us so that we have a permanent seat at the level of the [United Nations] Security Council," Assoumani told Sputnik.
Furthermore, he praised the Russian efforts in effectively resisting Western sanctions, noting that the West no longer has any resources for imposing sanctions on Russia.
"Russia and its President [Vladimir] Putin showed us that it was able to resist [sanctions] effectively over time."
In regards to the Black Sea Grain Deal, Assoumani said the African Union calls on all parties of the grain deal to facilitate the delivery of Russian and Ukrainian grain to the continent.
"The Ukrainian crisis is having a serious impact on the situation, so resolving this crisis will save a large number of people who depend on food supplies … Therefore, we appeal to all participants in the process with a big request to facilitate the delivery of both Russian and Ukrainian grain to our countries. We are ready to cooperate with Russia in all sectors to ensure peace and security on the continent," Assoumani said at the Russia-Africa summit.
The second Russia-Africa Summit is taking place in the Russian city of St. Petersburg from July 27-28. Summit participants are expected to sign a number of international and bilateral documents.
Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out on Thursday that Russia and African countries have managed to increase economic ties despite difficulties related to the COVID-19 pandemic and sanctions, with their mutual trade growing by almost 35% this year.
"Despite difficulties related to the coronavirus pandemic and illegal sanctions against Russia, we have managed to increase trade and economic relations [with Africa] ... over the first half of this year, trade increased by almost 35%," Putin said at a meeting with the chairman of the African Union, president of the Union of the Comoros Azali Assouman.
The Russian leader stressed that his country supports the African Union’s involvement in international associations and backs the initiative to grant Africa a seat at the G20, adding that Moscow expects such a decision to be made at the G20 summit in India in September.
Putin pointed out that the West creates obstructions to the supply of Russian fertilizers to African nations for free and to the supply of Russian grain to the continent. At the same time, the West blames Moscow for the ongoing situation, he added.
According to Putin, 30 promising energy projects with Russian participation are being developed in 16 African countries, adding that the total capacity of those projects is approximately 3.7 gigawatts.
African countries could become food producers and even exporters by getting necessary technologies, with Russia only supporting these efforts, the Russian President said.
The summit, the second of its kind after one held in Sochi in 2019, aims to discuss Russia-Africa ties and the impact of Moscow's withdrawal from the grain deal.
Seventeen African leaders, including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, are attending the summit.