Putin - 'We see how an array of Western countries are resorting to pressure, intimidation and blackmail of sovereign African governments' | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

26 February, Wednesday


Putin - 'We see how an array of Western countries are resorting to pressure, intimidation and blackmail of sovereign African governments'

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During a two-day Russia-Africa summit in the Black Sea resort Sochi, African leaders met with president Putin. They stressed that Western dominance and pressure is over, and that together they will promote a world order based on multilaterialism and respect for national sovereignty. Russia is ready, according to Putin, to provide help without 'political or other conditions'. For Coda Story Evan Gershkovich travelled to Sochi and captured the mood.

Last winter, the head of Ghana’s state news agency received a message: Russia’s ambassador to the West African country wanted the agency to discuss a partnership with TASS, its Russian counterpart. 
 
For many years, Albert Kofi Owusu had thought negatively about Russia, a perception he attributes to the Western media and Hollywood films. But after the country hosted the FIFA World Cup last year, Owusu said his eyes were opened to how developed it was; how its people were like anyone in the West. So when the request came through from the ambassador, he didn’t think working with Russia would be all that bad.
 
The Russian offer also appealed for another reason: the collaboration with Russia’s state news agency would come with no strings attached.
 
'With Western aid, there are all these conditions,' Owusu explained. 'They say: If you want this money, you have to do this about LGBTQ, for example — even if it goes against your country’s values. China and Russia say, ‘Here’s the money,’ and that’s it.'
 
It’s been months since those initial conversations with the Russian diplomat. And this week, Owusu flew to the Black Sea resort town of Sochi to begin official negotiations with TASS during Russia’s first ever Africa summit. Representatives of all 54 African nations, including 43 heads of state also traveled north for the Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum, which was co-hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
 
Putin: 'We see how an array of Western countries are resorting to pressure, intimidation and blackmail of sovereign African governments'

To set Russia apart from the pack, Putin is leaning on a unique pitch: that only Russian support can help protect the sovereignty of African countries.

 
'We see how an array of Western countries are resorting to pressure, intimidation and blackmail of sovereign African governments,' Putin told TASS on Monday in an interview ahead of the summit, adding that Russia was ready to provide help without 'political or other conditions.'
 
'Our country played a significant role in the liberation of the continent, contributing to the struggle of the peoples of Africa against colonialism, racism and apartheid,' he said. Although ties deteriorated after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, traces remain: the Mozambique flag, for instance, carries the Kalashnikov rifle.
 
Those themes were echoed throughout the two-day summit in Sochi. While Putin met with African leaders for negotiations, both Russian and African officials and businessmen spoke in an adjacent forum that ran the gamut of topics, from humanitarian cooperation to media relations to infrastructure development. In session after session, speakers emphasized partnership over aid, and sovereignty over fealty.

 

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