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US Exerts Pressure to Disrupt Russia-Africa Summit, Moscow Says

© Sputnik / Press Service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation / Go to the mediabankRussian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov at a meeting in Uganda between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and President of the Republic of Uganda Yoweri Museveni.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov at a meeting in Uganda between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and President of the Republic of Uganda Yoweri Museveni.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.02.2023
The second Russia–Africa Summit will be held in July 2023. According to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is the most important event on Moscow's agenda towards the continent, and is expected to bring a whole new level of cooperation between participating parties.
The United States is exerting unprecedented pressure on African states in an attempt to disrupt the July Russia-Africa Summit in Saint Petersburg, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov has told national media.

"The United States and its allies are waging an unprecedented campaign to isolate Russia politically and economically, including efforts aimed at disrupting the second Russia-Africa Summit," he said.

Since the beginning of the special military operation in Ukraine in February 2022, the "collective West" has significantly increased pressure on African countries by threatening to impose sanctions and cut them off from financial and humanitarian assistance, he claimed.
He further underlined that the Americans "fabricate accusations" against Russia on a daily basis. They put the blame on Moscow for worsening food security and "the coming famine," the increase in fuel, grain and fertilizer prices, which all combined exacerbate socio-economic problems on the continent, according to the deputy minister.
Bogdanov stated that the West is facing an urgent need to "replenish the lost volumes of vital resources" and to maintain its industry.
Western countries' goal now is to solve "existential issues," he underlined. To achieve desirable results, they display "unsportsmanlike behavior," trying to restrict Russia's activities in Africa with sanctions, stop lists, threats, and blackmail.
US President Joe Biden (C) participates in a family photo with the leaders of the US-Africa Leaders Summit at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, on December 15, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.12.2022
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Meanwhile, the policies of Africa's time-tested partners Russia and China are "pragmatic, based on a balance of national interests," he explained, specifying that Russia and China are building equal relations with African states, respecting their sovereignty and inalienable right to determine their own domestic and foreign policy.

He called Beijing's activities "healthy and fair competition" that could never be regarded as interference, saying it is the main difference between the fundamental approaches of Russia and China, and the West.

Bogdanov stressed that Russian diplomacy has always taken into account all possible external factors while promoting its own agenda and putting the state interests of Russia and its friends first. He added that the country has no intention "to deviate from this course."

"Our country strongly supports the principle of free choice of the development path for sovereign countries, which is the key idea of the forthcoming second Russia-Africa Summit," he stated.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow is inviting all African countries to the Russia-Africa Summit, in contrast to the United States, which excluded several states from the US–Africa Leaders' Summit.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, poses for a photo with leaders of African countries at the Russia-Africa summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.02.2023
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According to the deputy minister, preparations for the event are underway and its agenda is being worked out together with African partners. He noted that Russia is now receiving confirmations of participation from African leaders, concluding that it can be seen as a "signal of support from a significant bloc of countries, despite the enormous pressure from the West."
He also stated that one of the main objectives of Lavrov's visits to a number of African countries in January and February this year was to receive "first-hand" suggestions from the Africans on preparation and organization processes ahead of the summit. All of them are "taken into consideration and being analyzed."
"Numerous suggestions of African states correspond to our conceptual vision of the future forum. Priority is given to the transfer of technology and expertise, the development of industry and critical infrastructure on the continent," Bogdanov elaborated.
Among other things, he added, Russia's participation in industrialization, digitalization, energy, agriculture, and mining projects in Africa is being discussed. At the same time, the most important issue on the agenda of the summit will be the problem of ensuring food and energy security.
He also confirmed cooperation in the military-technical sphere with African countries, which is developing. He emphasized that Russia is ready to cooperate with all African countries which are interested in strengthening their national armed and law enforcement forces, increasing their level of combat capability. It is particularly important as some of them are struggling with a terrorist threat, which has been exacerbated in the past decade.
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