In both UN General Assembly votes urging a Russian cease-fire, almost half of all African nations abstained or did not vote at all.
US Ambassador to the African Union Jessica Lapenn told journalists in Dakar, “we look for a strong African response to Russian aggression and welcome the opportunity to partner with Senegal and other Africans on both the response to Russia’s aggression but also to address the implications of it globally.”
Akunna Cook and Lapenn, an official from the US State Department’s African Affairs Bureau, were in Senegal for talks, also with President Macky Sall, who presently holds the African Union’s rotating presidency.
The consultation, which they termed as a follow-up to Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s in November, comes as the Russian invasion of Ukraine is claimed to be splitting African nations.
Furthermore, Senegal, a country with strong ties to the West, stunned many by voting no in a UN General Assembly resolution calling for a Russian cease-fire in Ukraine.
Nonetheless, the West African state voted in favor of a second UN resolution calling on Russia to end the war immediately.
In both votes, almost half of all African nations abstained or did not vote at all.
Jessica Lapenn preferred to applaud the African Union’s statement on February 24, the day Russian President Vladimir Putin started the invasion, in which Russia was urged to “respect international law, Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and national sovereignty.” However, the African Union statement made no mention of condemning Russia.
Senegal imports 57% of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine, and the country’s GDP might decrease by 3% as a result of the subsidies required to satisfy this demand, she continued, describing it as a major issue.
According to Akunna Cook, the US is considering a number of methods to mitigate the economic consequences, including working with the World Bank and IMF as well as bilaterally.
Akunna Cook also stated that Africa is very much affected by the Russia-Ukraine Crisis, both because of the economic impact which we are seeing here and across the continent in terms of rising commodities and fuel prices and also because of the threat to territorial integrity.