Sergei Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia, denied suggestions that his country was to blame for the world food crisis while on a diplomatic offensive in Egypt. In a Cairo address to Arab League ambassadors, he claimed that Western countries were misrepresenting the effects of sanctions on world food security. He charged that the Western world was attempting to impose its supremacy on others.
Grain shortages brought on by Russia’s war in Ukraine are severely affecting a large portion of the Arab world and Africa. After Russia struck targets in the port of Odesa on Saturday, a historic agreement to restore Ukraine’s grain shipments is in jeopardy.
After that, Mr. Lavrov will travel to three African countries to mobilise support amid opposition to the war.
According to Mr. Lavrov, the “aggressiveness” with which Western countries have imposed sanctions against Russia points to one obvious conclusion: “It is not about Ukraine, it is about the future of the global order.
“They claim that everyone must support a world order based on rules, and that these rules are designed based on the particular issues that the West wishes to settle in its own favour.”
Prior to that, Mr. Lavrov spoke with Sameh Shoukry, his Egyptian colleague. Russia has close ties with Egypt and supplies food, weapons, and, before the invasion of Ukraine, a sizable number of tourists.
Following their meeting, Mr. Lavrov asserted that the West was prolonging the conflict despite knowing “what and whose end it will be” in a joint news conference.
It is the start of a brief trip for Mr. Lavrov through Africa, which will also take him to Ethiopia, Uganda, and Congo-Brazzaville.
Local newspapers carried an article written by Mr. Lavrov before his trip in which he asserted that his country had “sincerely assisted Africans in their struggle for independence from the colonial yoke.”
He went on to say that Russia appreciated the “balanced attitude” that Africans have adopted to the Ukrainian conflict. According to the African Development Bank, more than 40% of Africa’s wheat is typically supplied by Ukraine and Russia.
Egypt frequently consumes a lot of Ukrainian wheat. In 2019, it brought in 3.62 million tonnes, more than any other country.
In his piece, Mr. Lavrov, however, denied the accusation that Russia was “exporting starvation” and linked it to Western propaganda.
He went on to argue that Western sanctions against Russia have made the coronavirus pandemic-related “negative trends” in the world food market much worse.