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Biden to meet South Africa leader amid differences on Russia

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The White House announced on Thursday that the US President Joe Biden will meet with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa this month, as the administration looks to draw African nations closer to the US. On Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this happens at a time when South Africa and many of its neighbors have staked out neutral ground. 

Last month, the announcement of the September 16 visit comes on the heels of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to South Africa, in which he said that in tackling global problems the Biden administration sees Africa’s 54 nations as equal partners.  

To follow the US in condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine the administration has been disappointed that South Africa and much of the continent have declined.

To condemn Russia’s action South Africa abstained in a United Nations vote, and Ramaphosa has avoided any criticism of Russia and instead has called for a mediated peace. 

The officials said in April Biden and Ramaphosa, who spoke by phone, are expected to focus their talks on trade and investment, infrastructure, climate and energy, public health and South Africa’s leading role on the continent. 

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement announcing this month’s meeting, the two Presidents will reaffirm the importance of our enduring partnership, and discuss our work together to address regional and global challenges.

Biden in December also plans to host a US-Africa leaders summit. Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor maintained South Africa’s neutrality on the Ukraine war, during the Blinken visit. 

On the Ukraine conflict to the detriment of other international issues, Pandor accused the US and other Western powers of focusing, in a press briefing following the meeting. 

At what is happening to the people of Palestine she also said that we should be equally concerned, as we are with what is happening to the people of Ukraine.  

In grain, cooking oil and fertilizer, an issue that has had a disproportionate impact on Africans, Blinken for his part underscored that Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports has led to scarcities. 

Blinken said that for African countries in this unprecedented crisis the US is there, because that’s what partners do for each other.  

Africa’s choices are not dictated by the United States, and neither should anyone else. These choices only belong to Africans, and Africans alone. 

Because of the support the Soviet Union gave during the Cold War era to Ramaphosa’s African National Congress in its fight to end apartheid South Africa’s neutral position is largely, against the Black majority that ended in 1994 South Africa’s regime of repression. 

However, of the several African countries South Africa is seen as a leader that will not side against Russia.

For Ramaphosa the Biden meeting will come at a critical time, who is facing criticism from opposition parties and from within his own party for a scandal over revelations that USD 4 million was stolen from his cattle ranch. 

By members of Parliament he has been grilled this week about whether the foreign cash had been properly registered with South Africa’s financial authorities and why he did not immediately report the theft. 

To battling his nation’s rampant corruption the scandal has damaged Ramaphosa’s reputation as a committed leader. 

At a conference in December Ramaphosa faced significant opposition in his efforts to be reelected as the leader of his party.  

He won’t be able to stand for reelection as South Africa’s president in 2024 if he fails to win the party leadership. 

Since even before the COVID-19 pandemic and has unemployment of 34 per cent South Africa’s economy has been in recession, so Ramaphosa would welcome any announcement of economic support from the US. 

During Blinken’s visit to South Africa last month, for achieving a multi-racial democracy after years of white minority rule he praised South Africa and Ramaphosa. To formally launch a new US strategy toward Sub-Saharan Africa he also used to visit. 

Source:- https://newsmktcap.com/biden-to-meet-south-africa-leader-amid-differences-on-russia/

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