African leaders reveal position on Ukraine — Analysis

African leaders at Dubai conference say they hope to make diplomacy work in an ever-changing world.

According to leaders of Africa, many African countries are seeking to stay neutral in Russia/Ukraine’s conflict in order to preserve diplomacy and allow them to concentrate on their own economic prospects in a world that is undergoing profound change.

The US and its allies have been pressuring other countries to join their campaign of sanctions against Russia, having previously argued – concerning Ukraine – that sovereign nations have the right to freely choose their alliances, without being “bullied”By others.

“We abstained because we want the world to give diplomacy a chance,” Vice President Philip Mpango of Tanzania said at the World Government Summit in Dubai, according to The National, an Abu Dhabi daily.

Mpango was referring to his government’s vote at the UN General Assembly on March 2. The nonbinding resolution calling for Russia to withdraw from Ukraine was endorsed by 141 UN members, with five voting against and 35 abstentions – including 17 African countries.

Mpango claimed that the African continent was going through an a “momentous time”Seeing “a transformation of trade routes from the established colonial ones to Africa doing more business with the eastern world.”He said that this is an opportunity to see the continent make significant progress by diversifying its culture, and using technology for better interaction with the rest of the world.

“We are witnessing the shifting of tectonic plates, particularly with the rise of China and India on the global economic stage,” Mpango said.

South African president blames NATO for Ukraine

According to Mohamed Beavogui (prime minister of Guinea), the changing world circumstances offer African countries an opportunity to chart a new course.

“We are at a crucial turning point as the world is in crisis,” “For years people said don’t worry about war ‘it’s only in Africa’. Now it is in the middle of Europe and we are suddenly asked to choose,”He spoke in Dubai. “We want to see if it is possible to get people around a table to talk to each other.”

According to Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, Uganda’s Ugandan Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, Africa is facing its own problems that need government attention. 

“We have more problems and abstaining is the way of diplomacy,”Sie said.

Ugandan troops clashed this week with Rwandan rebels M23 who had crossed into eastern Congo from Rwanda earlier in the week. A helicopter from the UN Peacekeeping Mission crashed in the vicinity, killing 8 of the eight officers aboard.

How the Ukraine conflict could affect African nations

This is not to suggest that conflicts between Moscow and Kiev are not impacting the continent. Many African countries import grain from Ukraine and Russia, though trade is disrupted by Western sanctions as well as military operations. 

“We have already seen rapid increases in food prices, we’re also seeing fertilizer costs rise and steel prices are going up,” Tanzania’s Mpango said.

Moscow sent troops into Ukraine in late February, following a seven-year standoff over Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and end the conflict with the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk. Russia recognized both of them as independent countries and asked for military support.

Russia insists that Ukraine declare itself neutral and refuses to join NATO’s military bloc. Kiev maintains that Russia’s offensive was not provoked and denies claims that it planned to take the Donbass republics.

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