Ukraine war: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov seeks Arab world’s support

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    He wants to rally support for Moscow as it counters international anger over the war in Ukraine.

    Mr Lavrov held talks in Cairo with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry.

    Egypt has significant ties with Russia, which supplies wheat, weapons and – until the invasion of Ukraine began – large numbers of tourists.

    It is the first stage for Mr Lavrov of a brief tour of Africa taking in Ethiopia, Uganda and Congo-Brazzaville.

    In an article published by local newspapers in the run-up to his tour, Mr Lavrov said his country had always “sincerely supported Africans in their struggle for freedom from the colonial yoke”.

    He added that Russia appreciated Africans’ “balanced position” on the issue of Ukraine.

    Many African nations are badly affected by grain shortages caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

    Ukraine and Russia usually supply more than 40% of Africa’s wheat, the African Development Bank says.

    Egypt is normally a big consumer of Ukrainian wheat. In 2019, it imported 3.62 million tonnes of it, more than any country.

    But in his article, Mr Lavrov rejected the accusation that Russia was “exporting famine” and blamed it on Western propaganda.

    He added that Western sanctions imposed on Russia had exacerbated “negative tendencies” in the international food market that stemmed from the coronavirus pandemic.

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