United States: Africa can buy Russian cereals but risks oil stocks

KAMPALA, Uganda — African countries are free to buy grain from Russia but could face consequences if they trade in US-sanctioned products such as Russian oil, the US ambassador to the United Nations said on Thursday.

“Countries can buy Russian agricultural products, including fertilizers and wheat,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield said. But she added that “if a country decides to engage with Russia, where there are sanctions, then they are breaking those sanctions.”

“We warn countries not to violate these sanctions, because then … they have the possibility of action being taken against them,” she said.

Thomas-Greenfield spoke in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, after a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni, a US ally who has not criticized Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and expressed sympathy for Moscow.

Uganda is the first leg of an African tour by the American official which will include visits to Ghana and Cape Verde. His trip comes a week after Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, visited Africa, rejecting accusations that his country’s invasion of Ukraine is solely responsible for a dangerous food crisis in countries ranging from Somalia to South Sudan.

Lavrov blamed the food shortages on the market on “the absolutely inadequate reaction of the West, which announced sanctions” after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Ukraine and Russia are the world’s main suppliers of wheat, barley, corn and sunflower oil, with fighting in the Black Sea region, known as the ‘breadbasket of the world’, making drive up food prices, threatening political stability in developing and leading countries. ban certain food exports.

Many African countries – including some with areas on the brink of famine – rely heavily on grain imports from Russia and Ukraine.

Thomas-Greenfield insisted that the sanctions imposed by Washington are not responsible for the rise in food prices in Africa and elsewhere.

She said the United States was seeking to strengthen existing partnerships in African countries such as Uganda and spoke of Museveni, an authoritarian in power for 36 years, as a regional leader with whom the United States has relations. “mutual interests”.

Uganda is one of 25 African countries that abstained or did not vote in the UN General Assembly resolution condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. Many countries on the continent of 1.3 billion people have long-standing ties to Moscow, dating back to the Cold War when the Soviet Union backed their anti-colonial struggles.

Museveni said during Lavrov’s visit that Russia had been a friend of the East African country for more than 100 years, suggesting he felt pressure to support the US position on the war in Ukraine.

ABC News

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