African Union wants Russian sanctions lifted
Western sanctions against Russia threaten Africa with a food security crisis, the head of the African Union (AU) and Senegalese President Macky Sall said during a meeting, in Sochi, on Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He advocated the abolition of restrictions that apply to Russian grain crops and mineral fertilizers.
“Sanctions against the Russian Federation have exacerbated the situation because we no longer have access to grain, especially wheat from Russia, and most importantly, to fertilizers, which poses a serious threat to food security on the continent,” said Sall.
He pointed out two major problems, the global food crisis and anti-Russia sanctions, and said those problems needed to be worked out so that food products, in particular grains and fertilizers, are removed from the sanctions list.
President Putin, meanwhile, said that Russian-African relations are currently at a new stage of development, which is very important for both sides. “I would like to remind that our country has always been on the side of Africa, supported Africa in the fight against colonialism,” he said.
According to Putin, the volume of bilateral trade between Russia and the continent has been growing and is up by more than 34% in the first months of this year.
The United Nations has warned recently of a worsening global food crisis due to the conflict in Ukraine and Western sanctions on Russia. The situation is particularly dire in East Africa, a region that has traditionally procured roughly 90% of its imported grain from Russia and Ukraine.
According to the UN World Food Program, even before the crisis in Ukraine, around 13 million people in the Horn of Africa suffered from hunger. Moreover, according to the agency, the situation could become even more troublesome due to a drought that affected crops and killed livestock in Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia.
The UN estimates that the global food crisis could put 323 million people on the brink of starvation.
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