Two-thirds of African leaders refuse to attend Putin’s summit

26 July, 02:21 AM
Putin (Photo:Sputnik/Alexander Kazakov/Kremlin through REUTERS)

Putin (Photo:Sputnik/Alexander Kazakov/Kremlin through REUTERS)

The majority of African nations' leaders have chosen not to attend the upcoming Russia-Africa summit, with 38 out of 55 countries opting not to send their heads of state, The Moscow Times reported on July 25.

The summit, intended to showcase Russia's diplomatic push to increase influence on the continent, is taking place amidst a significant boycott: only 17 out of 55 African countries will be represented by their leaders at the event scheduled for July 27-28.

Yury Ushakov, an assistant to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, stated that an additional 10 African countries will send their prime ministers, and roughly half of the summit participants will be represented by lower-level delegations.

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Russian Foreign Ministry Special Envoy Oleg Ozerov responded to the boycott saying, "We won't kick up a fuss because, firstly, they might have other pre-planned events requiring the participation of heads of state; and secondly, those who could attend, attended."

Despite the significant no-show, Putin plans to hold personal meetings with each of the African leaders who do attend the summit. He is expected to engage with presidents from Egypt, Mozambique, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Eritrea, the Central African Republic, Libya, Cameroon, Senegal, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, and Congo.

The Kremlin has announced that Putin will deliver a keynote speech at the summit, talking about a "new world order" founded on "multipolarity and equality" among all nations.

Putin's recent article on Russia-African relations may be an effort to mitigate the damage to both Russia's standing and his own reputation in Africa, caused by Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allowed Ukrainian grain alleviate food security risks in a number of African countries.

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