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Ethiopia to Continue Trade and Cooperation With Russia Despite Sanctions, Envoy Says

© Sputnik / Igor Zarembo /  / Go to the mediabankWheat harvest in Russia's Kaliningrad Region
Wheat harvest in Russia's Kaliningrad Region - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.06.2022
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Addis Ababa will continue to trade and strengthen relations with Moscow despite possible US sanctions aimed at restricting cooperation between Russia and African countries, Ethiopian Ambassador to Russia Alemayehu Tegenu Aargau told Sputnik.
Last week, South African Ambassador to Russia Mzuvukile Maqetuka told Sputnik that the country has concerns over the possible adoption of a bill against the cooperation between Russia and African countries by the US Congress, which European companies may support.

"Yes, I have heard about it [bill]. Look, Ethiopia is a sovereign country; we keep all the relation and contact with any states based on our national interest, national dignity, sovereignty. Our foreign relations will only be managed by our own self, not by any other state. This is the standard of Ethiopia with regard to any bill," the ambassador said.

He added that "Ethiopia wants to strengthen bilateral cooperation with Russia. We are an independent country that can decide on our own issues".
At the same time, sanctions against Russia have already caused some damage to trade between Russia and Ethiopia, as well as to the work of the embassy, according to the ambassador.

"The situation now is very difficult. We are trying to solve the problems with regards to the difficulties. Logistics and financial transactions [are] very difficult ... We sell coffee to Russia, we sell oil seeds to Russia. Now there is a logistics problem," the ambassador said.

He added that at the moment Russia and Ethiopia are not using their own currencies for trade exchanges and the sanctions on Russian financial sectors affect money transactions.
© Flickr / Global PanoramaEthiopian flags
Ethiopian flags - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.06.2022
Ethiopian flags
The US House of Representatives adopted a bill numbered H.R.7311 and dubbed Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act in late April. The bill is intended to "direct the Secretary of State to develop and submit to Congress a strategy and implementation plan outlining United States efforts to counter the malign influence and activities of the Russian Federation and its proxies in Africa". The bill was submitted to the US Senate on 28 April.
The bill stipulates that the US Congress should "regularly assess the scale and scope of the Russian Federation’s influence and activities in Africa", to counter such activities, and to hold the Russian and African governments and their officials accountable for such actions.
When asked whether the military-technical cooperation between Russia and Ethiopia still continues, the ambassador said that "that is also going on".
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