sergei lavrov, the foreign minister of russia, heads to burundi

Sergei Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia, heads to Burundi

Last updated on June 2nd, 2023 at 08:15 am

During a visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday, Burundi reiterated its position of “neutrality” with regard to the violence in Ukraine by stating that “no one can win this war.” Burundi, an African country in the Great Lakes region, made the decision to abstain from voting on the most recent resolution that the General Assembly of the United Nations proposed in February. This resolution demanded that Russia pull its military out of Ukraine.

Eritrea and Mali were the only two countries in the African Union to vote against the resolution; however, 22 of the union’s 54 member states either did not vote or abstained during the voting. At a press conference in Bujumbura, in the presence of his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Burundi’s Foreign Minister Albert Shingiro stated, “We have taken an abstentions’ position, a position of neutrality, of non-alignment, to prevent this conflict from reaching other regions, most notably Africa. We need to mitigate the impact of this conflict, and this is the position of most African countries on this issue.”

Mr. Shingiro also said, “There is no one who can win this war,” and he was very certain of that. Sergei Lavrov stated that “we also talked about the need to reform the UN Security Council and the fact that Africa is not sufficiently represented.” He proceeded on to say that “we highly appreciate Burundi’s balanced and responsible position, and most of all, the fact that Burundi understands the root causes of this conflict.”

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The visit that Mr. Lavrov will make to Kenya on Monday comes on the heels of a journey that his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kouleba, took last week to several nations in Africa, including Ethiopia and Rwanda.

Both Moscow and Kiev have their sights set on expanding their own spheres of influence throughout the African continent. Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine at the end of February 2022, Mr. Lavrov has already made two trips to Africa, during which he toured various different nations.

For his part, Mr. Kouleba this week called on some of the continent’s governments to abandon their “neutrality” on the crisis in Ukraine. He also said he wanted to expand Kiev’s ties with a continent with a population of 1.3 billion, particularly by announcing the opening of new embassies.

Relationships between Russia and several African nations date back to the time of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union portrayed itself as a combatant against imperialism. In St. Petersburg, Russia, a summit between Russia and Africa, the second of its type, is going to take place from July 26–29.