Friday, July 22, 2022

Lavrov before his African tour: Russia and Africa continue to reduce the shares of the dollar and the euro in their dealings; military missions in Ukraine is now beyond Donbass region

    Friday, July 22, 2022   No comments

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has had a very busy month in July. He has visited a number of Asian and African countries mainly to explain Russia's position on the war in Ukraine and to thank some states for not joining the sanctions imposed against his country. It would seem that his trip was successful to the extent that he was able to even revise the mission of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine, it is now about more than the Donbass region. Here is a rundown of key events and statements.

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On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin asked Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to report on his recent foreign tour.

During his meeting with members of the Russian Security Council, Putin said: "Today, we will discuss some issues on the international agenda, and I ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs to talk about the results of his foreign tour. I have read his written reports, but I would like to share these results and impressions from your tour with colleagues." .


Besides Lavrov, the meeting was attended by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishusti, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev, Presidential Administration Head Anton Vaino, Federal Security Service Director Alexander Bortnikov, as well as Special Presidential Envoy for Environmental Protection and Transport Sergei Ivanov .


Lavrov recently completed a foreign tour that included Mongolia and Vietnam, as well as Indonesia, where he participated in the meeting of foreign ministers of the "Group of Twenty", and met a number of its foreign ministers, with the exception of foreign ministers of Western countries and the United States.


The "Group of Twenty" meeting represents a prelude to the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Group of Twenty to be held next November in Indonesia, which it invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend.


Next week, Lavrov will tour a number of African countries, starting next Sunday in Egypt, where he will deliver a speech before the League of Arab States.


Earlier, the Russian Foreign Minister noted that "Russia and African partners are constantly working to reduce the dollar and euro shares in their mutual trade."


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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov start an African tour, starting with a visit to Egypt, on Sunday, in an effort to benefit from the desire of some countries to join non-Western alliances.


In Egypt, Lavrov would meet officials who are trying to raise the level of strong relations with Russia to the level of their close relationship with the United States, which sought with other Western powers to isolate Russia by imposing severe sanctions on it, after its military operation in Ukraine, on February 24.


After meeting with members of the Arab League in Cairo, Lavrov is  heading to Ethiopia and Uganda, the two countries whose relations with the West have recently been strained, and then to the Republic of the Congo.


Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that "Russia and African partners are constantly working to reduce the shares of the dollar and the euro in their mutual trade."


"The current geopolitical situation requires a certain adjustment of our interaction mechanisms, first of all, we are talking about the need to ensure uninterrupted logistics and the creation of financial settlement systems that are protected from external interference," added Lavrov.


"Russia, in cooperation with partners, is taking steps to expand the use of national currencies and payment systems, and is constantly working to reduce the share of the dollar and the euro in mutual trade," Lavrov said.


The minister noted that Russia "supports the creation of an independent and efficient financial system that is not vulnerable to possible influence from unfriendly countries."


He added, "Developing a comprehensive partnership with African countries remains among the important priorities of Russia's foreign policy. We are open to its further construction in line with the strategic decisions taken at the first Russia-Africa Summit at the end of October 2019 in Sochi."


The Minister stressed that Russia is open to building a comprehensive partnership with African countries, and will continue to fulfill its obligations to provide these countries with food, fertilizers and energy carriers, noting at the same time that Western sanctions against Russia have exacerbated the difficult situation in the food market.


In a related context, the Russian Foreign Minister expressed his country's appreciation for the balanced position of Africans regarding what is happening in and around Ukraine. "We know that African colleagues do not agree with the overt attempts of the United States and its European subordinates to dictate their will to everyone, to impose a unipolar model of world order on the international community," he said. "We appreciate the balanced position of Africans."


"Despite unprecedented external pressure, our (African) friends did not join the sanctions against Russia. Such an independent line deserves deep respect," he added.


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On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly talked about sanctions on "North Stream-2" and reducing the share of gas supplies through "North Stream-1" to reach 50% of its capacity, considering that "therefore, Europe is responsible for the energy crisis, not Russia."


In an exclusive interview with "Sputnik" and "RT", Lavrov said that "in principle, his country will not abandon the old economic chains, and will work to build new, more reliable chains, and this is what Russia is doing in the current circumstances."


Lavrov noted that "there are a number of new economic initiatives, including the "North-South" corridor extending from St. Petersburg to the Indian Ocean and from India to Vladivostok, adding that "there are a whole number of projects, which are now at a high degree of implementation." ".


He pointed out that Russia has "excellent and distinguished relations with Africa since the era of the Soviet Union," adding: "We participated in the construction of giant industrial projects on the African continent, in addition to the role of the Soviet Union in liberating many African countries from colonialism."


Lavrov revealed the expected visits to Africa this year, explaining that "it will include Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda and Congo. He considered Africa, India and China as very promising markets."


Since the launch of the Russian special military operation on February 24, Western countries have imposed severe and unprecedented economic and financial sanctions on Russia.


Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that "Russia does not plan to occupy Ukrainian territory," explaining that "Russia's goal is to protect people who, for 8 years, have been subjected to persecution and genocide by the Kyiv regime."


The sanctions range from banning oil exports, tying up the banking sector, and preventing companies from major countries from dealing with the Russian market, in addition to banning dealing through the “Swift” system for international banking transactions, freezing the assets of the Russian Central Bank in Western countries, as well as closing the airspace to Russian aircraft. And he imposed direct sanctions on deputies and the circle surrounding the Kremlin, right up to Russian President Vladimir Putin personally.


On the other hand, the sanctions imposed on Russia cast a shadow on international supply and supply chains, and confused the European economy first, especially in the sectors of energy, trade, manufacturing, banking and markets, in addition to their repercussions on global food prices.


*****


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that Moscow's military missions in Ukraine have gone beyond the eastern Donbass region.


Lavrov: "The facts of geography have changed since officials from Russia and Ukraine held negotiations in Turkey in late March that failed to achieve any breakthrough."

"Now the geography has changed, and it is no longer related to the two republics, but also to the Kherson and Zaporizhzh regions and a number of other regions," Lavrov added, referring to lands outside the two republics that were completely or partially controlled by Russia.


"The process continues in a logical and diligent manner," he added, noting that "Russia may need to go deeper."


At the beginning of this month, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced "the liberation of the territory of the Lugansk People's Republic", and Russian forces took control of areas outside Donbass, especially in the southern regions of Zaporizhia and Kherson.


Lavrov: Peace talks with Ukraine are useless

With regard to peace talks with Ukraine, Lavrov said that it was "useless to conduct them" for the time being. Lavrov noted that the first rounds of talks with Ukraine proved that Kyiv "does not want to discuss any issue seriously."


"They will not be able to formulate anything that deserves serious attention from serious people," the Russian foreign minister added, "and we have already realized that."


Talks between Russia and Ukraine stalled in mid-April, Lavrov said, explaining that Western arms supplies to Ukraine had altered the Kremlin's calculations.


Lavrov also stated that the United States of America and the United Kingdom want to push Russia to confront Europe, by providing them with arms to Ukraine.


It is noteworthy that the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, had confirmed, last June, that "the Russian air defense systems will break down the weapons obtained by Ukraine from the West like nuts."


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