Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has slammed Washington for its attempts to derail Russia's engagement with African countries.
In an interview issued on Tuesday, Lavrov said that the United States and its allies are trying to wreck Russia's planned summit with African countries as part of efforts to isolate Moscow.
“It is true that the United States and its vassals are doing everything possible to achieve Russia's international isolation,” aif.ru quoted Lavrov as saying. “In particular, they are trying to torpedo the planned second Russia-Africa summit ... to persuade our African friends not to take part.”
According to the Russian official, Washington will persist in exerting pressure on the nations of the Global South and East in order to impede their collaboration with Russia. However, Lavrov believes that these efforts will ultimately prove futile. Despite the anticipated challenges, the official remains optimistic about Russia's ability to forge partnerships and build alliances with countries in these regions. In the face of American opposition, Russia is determined to promote its interests and expand its influence in the international arena.
In any case, Lavrov said, the chances of damaging the conference were diminishing as "fewer and fewer people are now willing to pull out all the stops for former colonial powers.
“Attempts to interfere in our cooperation with countries for the global South and East will therefore continue, but success is far from guaranteed,” Lavrov said.
At the end of July, Moscow is set to hold its second summit with African countries in St. Petersburg, where discussions will focus on a range of development initiatives spanning infrastructure, technology and energy.
Earlier in mid-March, Oleg Ozerov, who heads the Secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum, expressed Russia’s expectations that the majority of the 54 nations in Africa will attend the second Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg in June and will not be affected by the Western countries' threats and blackmail.
“African countries, which are fed up with this pressure from their former metropolises and outright diktat - with whom they should cooperate and with whom they should not - have made their position on this document crystal clear,” TASS quoted Ozerov as saying in an interview.
The ambassador emphasized that African nations formally abstain from supporting anti-Russian sanctions and are hostile to any efforts by the United States and its NATO partners to persuade them to do so.
"Russia and Africa have always been bound by strong ties of friendship and trust, which have successfully withstood the test of endurance over the past decades. Our country stands ready to continue its multifaceted partnership with Africa, including the expansion of political dialogue and the enhancement of economic and humanitarian cooperation," Ozerov concluded.
The Russia-Africa Summit has been an important platform for promoting Russian interests on the continent. The first summit held in Sochi, a coastal resort city in Russia, brought together governmental and business officials representing 54 African nations. The forum was co-chaired by President Putin and Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, his Egyptian counterpart, who previously served as chairman of the African Union.
As the first major gathering of African leaders in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the forum is an important platform for face-to-face discussions between politicians, business executives and experts to develop joint projects across the two continents. The forum reportedly resulted in more than $12 billion in trade deals after African delegations struck more than 50 contracts with Russian businesses.
The forthcoming event promises to provide an opportunity for Russia and African nations to explore and strengthen bilateral trade and economic growth. With a clear emphasis on innovation and sustainable development, this summit is expected to generate practical solutions for shared challenges and build a foundation for a long-term partnership between Russia and Africa.
The list of Russia’s largest trading partners in Africa currently includes Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and South Africa, according to Russia Briefing.