Blinken unveils US-Africa strategy – The North Africa Post

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The United States will not dictate Africa’s choices, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during his visit to South Africa on Monday, August 8, despite having sought support from the continent’s 54 countries in efforts to isolate Russia over its Ukraine invasion.

Blinken is in South Africa as part a similar African tour by Sergey Lavrov (Russian Foreign Minister) and Emmanuel Macron (French President).

The US top diplomat launched the US Strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa in Pretoria. It focuses on areas like climate change, trade and food insecurity. He met with Naledi Pandor, his South African counterpart, to discuss the dangers of climate change, food security, and the war against Ukraine.

Pandor claimed that the West sometimes takes a patronizing and bullying approach to Africa. He also made it clear, however, that South Africa has differing views on the US’s positions on Ukraine, Israel, China, and Palestine. Blinken countered that the existing relations between them, which span from cooperation in healthcare and other sectors, would allow them both to speak out on issues where their views differ. “Our commitment to a stronger partnership with Africa is not about trying to outdo anyone else,” Blinken said.

Responding to Blinken’s comments that Russia’s invasion was an aggression against the entire international order, Pandor noted that while South Africa has remained neutral on the conflict with Russia, her country “abhorred” war and would like to see an end to the conflict. However, she said the different approaches by the international community to different conflicts sometimes “lead to cynicism about international bodies,” making a reference to the plight of the Palestinians. “Just as much as the people of Ukraine deserve their territory and freedom, the people of Palestine deserve their territory and freedom,” she said, adding that “we’ve not seen an even-handed approach.”

In a speech at the University of Pretoria, Monday, Blinken addressed another Biden administration’s strategic goal in Africa: promoting democratic governance across the continent.

“History shows that strong democracies tend to be more stable and less prone to conflict — and that the poor governance, exclusion and corruption inherent in weak democracies makes them more vulnerable to extremist movements and foreign interference,” Blinken said

In the days ahead, Blinken will visit Congo and Rwanda as well as South Africa. This is part of a contest between Russia and Western nations to win support from African countries in the wake of the war in Ukraine. South Africa is among many African nations that have taken a neutral stand on the Ukraine conflict and avoided criticism from Russia.

Source: north africa post

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