Russian Lavrov visits Egypt on diplomatic trip to Africa : NPR

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FILE – In this photo released by the Russian Foreign Ministry’s press service, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a joint press conference with Hungarian Foreign and Trade Minister Peter Szijjarto following their interviews in Moscow, Russia, July 21, 2022.

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FILE – In this photo released by the Russian Foreign Ministry’s press service, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a joint press conference with Hungarian Foreign and Trade Minister Peter Szijjarto following their interviews in Moscow, Russia, July 21, 2022.

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CAIRO — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is in Cairo on Sunday for talks with Egyptian officials as his country seeks to break diplomatic isolation and sanctions from the West following its invasion of Ukraine .

Lavrov landed in Cairo on Saturday evening, the first leg of his Africa trip which will also include stops in Ethiopia, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to Russian RT.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry was meeting with Lavrov on Sunday morning.

The head of Russian diplomacy was to meet later Sunday with the secretary general of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit. He will also address the permanent representatives of the pan-Arab organization, RT reported.

Russia’s war in Ukraine has had disastrous effects on the global economy, pushing oil and gas prices to unprecedented levels.

Ukraine is one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat, corn and sunflower oil, but Russia’s invasion of the country and naval blockade of its ports have halted shipments. Some Ukrainian grain is transported across Europe by rail, road and river, but with higher transport costs.

The war disrupted shipments of Russian products as shipping and insurance companies were unwilling to deal with Western sanctions against the country.

African countries are among the most affected by the repercussions of war. Prices for vital commodities have skyrocketed and billions of dollars in aid have been directed to help those fleeing war in Europe. This has left millions of people in conflict zones in Africa and the Middle East suffering from worsening growing shortages of food and other forms of assistance.

In an article published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website, Lavrov dismissed Western accusations that Russia is responsible for the global food crisis as “another attempt to shift the blame onto others”.

Seeking to rally African nations to his country’s side, he hailed what he called “an independent path” those nations took when they refrained from joining the West in sanctioning Russia.

“We know that African colleagues do not approve of the open attempts of the United States and its European satellites to gain the upper hand and impose a unipolar world order on the international community,” he wrote in the article, which was also published. in four African newspapers.

Lavrov’s meetings with Egyptian officials and Arab envoys in Cairo come less than two weeks after US President Joe Biden’s trip to the Middle East. Biden met with the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, before convening a summit with the leaders of the Gulf Arab countries, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq in Saudi Arabia.

Egypt, the most populous country in the Arab world, has refused to take sides since the start of the war in Ukraine in February because it has close ties with Moscow and the West. Egypt is one of the biggest importers of wheat in the world, much of it coming from Russia and Ukraine.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi enjoys close personal relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two leaders have significantly strengthened their bilateral relations in recent years.

Lavrov’s visit to Cairo came as Russia’s atomic energy company, Rosatom, began construction last week on a four-reactor power plant it is building in Egypt.

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