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Lavrov’s Journey Across Africa Highlights Moscow’s Current and Future Partnerships

© Sputnik / Press Service of the Russian Foreign Ministry / Go to the mediabankRussian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Africa Naledi Pandor during a joint press conference following a meeting in Pretoria, South Africa, on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Africa Naledi Pandor during a joint press conference following a meeting in Pretoria, South Africa, on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.01.2023
As Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov concludes his six-day trip to South Africa, Eswatini, Angola and Eritrea, Moscow’s commitment to expand activities in the continent is becoming apparent.
Russia’s top diplomat's plane landed in Pretoria early in the morning on Monday. Sergey Lavrov’s delegation landed to hold meetings with the country’s foreign minister Naledi Pandor and President Cyril Ramaphosa.

African Ideas for BRICS: Moscow & Pretoria Agree on New Goals

South Africa is preparing to host this year’s BRICS summit in Durban. The bloc’s goals have become an important part of discussions, in which Moscow and Pretoria share a common vision with their Brazilian, Indian and Chinese partners.
As South African top diplomat Naledi Pandor was outlining her nation’s BRICS-related plans at a joint press conference with Minister Lavrov, she pointed at elements of neo-colonialism. In her opinion, these elements are caused by Bretton-Wood rules that are at the base of the world’s political and economic institutions.

These [global] institutions do not always take into account the developmental needs of the poorest and most vulnerable countries. This is why we are having discussions as BRICS as to what we can do to really introduce and to create a focus on those who need support in order to develop. And then we will have fairer trade and financial rules in the economic domain, because at the moment the rules of the institutions work against the poorest.

Naledi Pandor
South Africa Foreign Minister
For his part, Lavrov sided with Pandor on the issue of anti-colonialism and also shared his view on North America’s attempts to intimidate African nations over their cooperation with Russia, saying in response to the question by Sputnik that the West is “crossing red lines”.
Moscow is prepared for broader dialogue with Africa and has its own format for doing so.
A worker stands behinds the flags of Brazil, Russia, China, South Africa and India to tidy the flags ahead of a group photo during the BRICS Summit at the Xiamen International Conference and Exhibition Center in Xiamen, southeastern China's Fujian Province, Monday, Sept. 4, 2017. - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.01.2023
Lavrov: BRICS Mulling Own Currency
As per the Russian FM, he discussed the preparations for the second Russia-Africa summit, scheduled to be held in July in St. Petersburg, with his South African colleague.
“We believe that its results will be based on the work that has been done since the first summit, held in Sochi in the fall of 2019, and will help take our ties to new levels,” said Lavrov.

A Warm Welcome in Mbabane

The Kingdom of Eswatini was the second destination of Lavrov’s journey, with his delegation visiting one of the nation’s two capitals, Mbabane on Tuesday.
It was his first trip to the country, formerly known as Swaziland.
The nation is struggling to overcome the consequences of the British colonialist rule, such as the damage to its natural resources. Eswatini became a British protectorate in 1902, losing control over fertile lands due to forced concessions with British companies.
Unlike the West, Russia is offering its African partners cooperation beneficial for both sides and which is not aimed at exploiting Eswatini’s natural resources.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks during a media briefing after meeting with his South Africa's counterpart Naledi Pandor in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, Jan. 23, 2023.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.01.2023
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Arrives in Eswatini on Visit
Top diplomats Thulisile Dladla and Lavrov signed an agreement on visa-free movement for holders of Eswatini and Russian diplomatic passports and discussed plans to increase bilateral political and economic cooperation. Russia has announced that it is prepared to train Eswatini’s law enforcement agents and peacekeepers.
According to Lavrov, who spoke with the media at the joint news conference in Mbabane on Tuesday, a special task force will review cooperation possibilities.

We agreed today at a meeting with the [Eswatini] military leadership to increase cooperation in the field of security. We have existing intergovernmental agreements on military cooperation, military-technical cooperation, a working group on military-technical cooperation.

Sergey Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister

Moscow’s Old Friends in Angola

Angola is one of the African nations where Russian heritage is carefully preserved. The country received military and economic aid from the USSR during its struggle for independence in the 1970s, and there is still a lot of gratitude from Angolans for Moscow’s help.
While visiting Luanda on Wednesday, Lavrov announced that Moscow is increasing the quota for Angolan students in Russia’s colleges twofold – from 150 to 300. Other areas of interest include cooperation in agriculture, telecommunications and space exploration.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov holds talks with Minister of External Relations of Angola Téte António. Luanda, January 25, 2023. - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.01.2023
FM Lavrov: Russian-Angolan Relations 'Tested by History', Continue to Develop
After talks with the country’s president, Joao Lourenco, Lavrov announced that BRICS nations are considering the creation of their own currency. The idea, which coincideswith monetary reforms within other blocks outside the Anglo-Saxon areas of influence, will be discussed in detail during the organization’s summit in Durban in August.

The initiatives on the need to think about the creation of internal currencies within the framework of the BRICS, within the framework of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, which were announced just the other day, go in this direction.

Sergey Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister
When it comes to the bilateral agenda, Lavrov stressed that Moscow and Luanda will continue cooperation despite pressure from the West.

We have a mutual firm commitment to developing our ties in all areas, and we will do this despite the illegal pressure from the United States and its allies. In particular, as an immediate task, we will prepare a meeting of intergovernmental commissions on economic cooperation.

Sergey Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister
Angolan FM Tete Antonio called the negotiations with Lavrov “a frank dialogue between friends”.

Red Sea Coast - Lavrov’s African Tour Finale

Eritrea was the shortest stop on Lavrov’s journey.
The minister has never been to the country before, but his four-hour stay on Thursday gave him a chance to become acquainted with the nation’s leadership. Together with his counterpart, Osman Saleh, Lavrov went on a helicopter tour of the region and paid a visit to Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki.
At the meeting with Lavrov, Eritrea's president reportedly said that attempts by the West to create a uni-polar world have failed, and called for an effort to combat the hegemonic and colonial practices that had put the world into jeopardy.
Eritrea has supported Russia’s stance on the special military operation in Ukraine at the UN, and Moscow greatly values its relations with Asmara.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (left) and Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh during a joint news conference following their meeting in Massawa, Eritrea, on January 26, 2023. - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.01.2023
Lavrov Says US, EU Countries Seeking to Restore Africa's Colonial Dependence
Russia's FM summarized the outcome of the talks and areas of mutual interest for the two nations, while speaking with Eritrean media in Asmara on Thursday.

It’s economy, of course, mining, information communication technology, agriculture, infrastructure, the possibilities of the port and the airport of Massawa, the availability of the Russian proposals to develop industries in Eritrea – all this is going to be the subject for regular consultations between the ministries of economy, which we agreed to launch very soon and to make these consultations a regular feature of our relations.

Sergey Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister
Despite the distance, the two countries also have some common cultural and historic heritage.
Lavrov and Eritrean officials paid tribute to Russia’s famous poet Alexander Pushkin, whose monument is located in Asmara.
Lavrov’s meetings in Africa were watched closely by the western mainstream media, with the minister pointing to the fact that some news outlets presented a distorted picture of Moscow’s relations with nations on the continent.
When asked by Sputnik at a news conference in Eritrea on Thursday whether these distortions have affected the work of the Russian delegation, Lavrov called some coverage “not work, but war” and underlined that Moscow’s point of view rarely makes it to the airwaves.
“During my trip to Africa I watched some western TV channels and there were no arguments by the Russian side there, only the traditional western mottos,” said the minister.
Lavrov’s Africa trip was his second visit to the continent after the beginning of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine. In the summer of 2022, Russia’s top diplomat traveled to the Republic of Congo, Uganda, Ethiopia and Egypt.
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