AU Officials Hold Talks with President Putin over Key Commodity Crisis  

ADDIS ABABA – African Union Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat and Senegal’s President Macky Sall has held “wide-ranging discussions” with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday.

Chairperson Mahamat and President Sall, also the current chair of the AU, headed to Russia on Thursday at the invitation of Putin.

Today, AUC Chair Mahamat announced Sall and he held wide-ranging discussions with President Putin to reiterate the AU’s position on the need for a political solution to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine has sent the cost of fuel, grain, and fertilizers skyrocketing around the globe, which is being acutely felt in African nations.

During the discussion with Putin, “we appealed for the suspension of sanctions against cereals and other key commodities,” said AUC Chair Mahamat in a message posted on Twitter today.

Both also pleaded to Putin on “the need for their safe sea passage to mitigate the devastating economic and socio-economic effects of a growing food and energy crisis,” which Mahamat said, is “hampering global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Both Ukraine and Russia are major suppliers of wheat and other cereals to Africa, while Russia is a key producer of fertilizer.

Earlier this week, Senegal’s president Sall made an appeal to European Union leaders to help ease the crisis on key commodities, according to the AFP news agency. He said their decision to expel Russian banks from the SWIFT financial messaging system could hurt food supplies to the continent.

Russia has come under a barrage of sanctions from the West following the February 24 invasion of Ukraine, in a bid to punish Moscow for the military intervention.  

During Friday’s discussion, Faki and Sall expressed Africa’s “fervent wish for compromise and dialogue to allow a negotiated settlement in the interests of global peace and stability,” according to the AUC Chairperson.

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