Ukraine’s foreign minister has urged African countries to support their country and end their neutral stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In February, 22 of the African Union’s 54 member states voted no on a UN General Assembly resolution, marking the one-year anniversary of the war, calling on Russia to withdraw from Ukraine. Two of them – Eritrea and Mali – voted against the resolution.
At a press conference at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Ukrainian officials were “very upset” when African countries voted not to participate in the vote.
He said, “You are refraining from supporting independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity.
Kuleba is on a tour of Africa this week which includes Morocco and Rwanda.
This is his second visit to Africa in less than a year, he said, adding that Ukraine’s commitment to establishing a “new era” of relations with Africa, which he acknowledged, has not received due attention in recent years .
He told reporters he was trying to convince African leaders that remaining neutral against Russia was not the answer. “By remaining neutral to Russian aggression against Ukraine, you demonstrate your neutrality to violations of borders and large-scale crimes that may happen very close to you, if not to you,” he said.
In a pre-recorded message to African leaders gathered Thursday for anniversary celebrations of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Kuleba said that supporting Ukraine in its war with Russia is not about being “pro-Western or anti-Western.” It is about respecting the United Nations Charter, international law and order, as well as the right of each nation to choose its own peaceful path of development.
Some of the information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Reuters and the French news agency, AFP.