Russia looms large on Scholz’s first Africa tour as chancellor

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BERLIN (Reuters) – Russia’s affect on power and meals costs and safety will present the backdrop to Olaf Scholz’s first journey to Africa as German Chancellor, a three-day tour of Senegal, Niger and South Africa kicking off on Sunday.

The first cease on Scholz’s journey is Senegal, which has billions of cubic metres of fuel reserves and is anticipated to turn out to be a significant fuel producer within the area.

Germany is searching for to scale back its heavy reliance on Russia for fuel following the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. It may assist discover a fuel area in Senegal, a authorities official mentioned on Friday.

The supply mentioned Scholz additionally wished to debate doable cooperation on the event of renewable power. In Senegal, he’ll go to a solar energy plant after assembly and holding a joint information convention with the nation’s President Macky Sall.

Germany has invited each Senegal, which at present holds the rotating chairmanship of the African Union, and South Africa to attend the G7 summit it’s internet hosting in June as visitor international locations.

Both international locations abstained from voting on a United Nations decision in opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a particular army operation to demilitarize a neighbor it says threatened its safety.

Ukraine and Western allies say the warfare is an unprovoked act of aggression.

The battle has triggered provide disruptions which have pushed up meals and power costs in Africa. Russia’s army has blocked exports from ports in Ukraine, a significant grains and meals provider to the area. The Kremlin blames Western sanctions for the rising costs.

SECURITY IN THE SAHEL

Scholz will journey later on Sunday to Niger. The nation has taken on an even bigger function internet hosting European particular forces to stem a jihadist insurgency throughout the Sahel since European relations with the army junta ruling neighboring Mali have deteriorated.

The European Union suspended its army coaching mission in Mali resulting from an absence of ensures from Malian authorities that army contractors from Russia’s Wagner Group wouldn’t intrude within the work. The group is beneath EU sanctions accused of human rights abuses.

Russia denies any wrongdoing in Mali or in every other nation the place Wagner operates. Both Mali and Russia have beforehand mentioned Wagner Group isn’t made up of mercenaries however trainers serving to native troops with gear purchased from Russia.

Scholz will go to German troops in Niger and focus on the prolonged battle in opposition to insurgents linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State which have killed 1000’s and made swathes of territory ungovernable within the Sahel, south of the Sahara.

On Monday night Scholz is ready to journey to Johannesburg for the ultimate leg of his tour.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke and Sarah Marsh; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)



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