African Union chief announces impending visit to Moscow, Kyiv

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has met with a divided response among African countries.

Senegal's President Macky Sall standing at a podium
Senegal's President Macky Sall addresses the closing of the 35th ordinary session of the Assembly of the African Union at the African Union Commission (AUC) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on February 6, 2022 [File: Tiksa Negeri/Reuters]

Senegalese President Macky Sall has said he is travelling to Russia and Ukraine soon on behalf of the African Union, whose presidency he currently holds.

At a joint press conference with visiting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday, Sall said that the trip had been due to take place on May 18, that it didn’t go ahead due to scheduling issues, and that new dates have been put forward.

He added that he had received a mandate from the African Union to undertake the trip, for which Russia had extended an invitation.

“As soon as it’s set, I will go of course to Moscow and also to Kyiv and we have also accepted to get together all the heads of state of the African Union who want to [meet] with [Ukrainian] President [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy, who had expressed the need to communicate with the African heads of state,” he said.

“That too will be done in the coming weeks.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has hit African economies hard due to rising cereal prices and fuel shortages, has met with a divided African response.

In early March, Senegal abstained from voting on a United Nations resolution – overwhelmingly adopted – that called on Russia to withdraw from Ukraine. However, a few weeks later it voted in favour of another resolution demanding Russia halt the war.

Nearly half of African nations abstained or did not vote on the two UN resolutions.

Source: AFP