Lavrov in Egypt Denounces Geopolitics, Sanctions on His Africa Trip
July 24, 2022 (EIRNS)—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in Cairo on July 23, as the first stop in a tour of several African nations. He next goes to the Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Ethiopia.
Today he was received in Cairo by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, after which Lavrov met with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry one on one; and their respective delegations met in an extended work session.
Lavrov then met with Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and was expected to address the 22 permanent representatives of the organization. Ten of these states are in Africa. In April this year, a delegation of the Arab League Ministerial Contact Group on Ukraine visited Moscow. The delegation was headed by Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukry.
After his talks with Shoukry, Lavrov addressed the problem of sanctions in a joint press conference with Sameh, according to TASS. Lavrov said that Russia hopes that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will succeed in resolving the sanctions problems, (in Russian) which hinder grain operations from Russia. “Those illegitimate sanctions that were imposed [against Russia] and that prevented operations with Russian grain, including insurance, including the calling of our ships at foreign ports and foreign ships at Russian ports,” Lavrov said.
“Our Egyptian colleagues understand what is happening [in Ukraine], they understand the context, which is connected with geopolitics, which is connected with the West’s policy to ensure its dominance in international affairs, and they stand, which we appreciate, for the soonest search for a peaceful settlement, taking into account the fundamental, legitimate interests of all participants in this process within the context of building a sustainable European security architecture on a fair basis,”
“We do not have any prejudices against resuming negotiations on a wider range of issues, but it is not up to us, since the Ukrainian authorities, starting with the President and ending with his numerous advisers, say that there will be no negotiations until Ukraine defeats Russia on the battlefield,”
Egypt is the largest importer of wheat in the world, buying between 11 and 13 million tons annually, which is only half of the country’s needs. Russia and Ukraine have come to be the main exporters of wheat to Egypt. The conflict in Ukraine and Western anti-Russian sanctions have disrupted key grain supply chains, and Egypt has sourced more of its imports in recent months from France, Canada, the United States and elsewhere.
There were other important topics of discussion between Russia and Egypt, for example energy—oil and gas, and the new nuclear project. TASS cites the fact that earlier this month, construction began on the first nuclear power plant, long planned at the El Dabaa site on the Mediterranean coast. The 4.8 GW project consists of four 1.2 GW Russian pressurized water reactor units, which will be owned by the Nuclear Power Plants Authority of Egypt, while Russia’s Rosatom will develop and deliver the facility.
Arms deals may also be under discussion. Over 2017-2021, Egypt became one of the top three importers of Russian weapons, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).