Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is in Africa this week to demonstrate Russian commitment to the region and shore up alliances amid the war in Ukraine.
On Sunday, Lavrov visited Egypt, meeting with top officials including Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri and Arab League secretary general Ahmed Aboulgheit, discussing the issue of grain exports from Ukraine and claiming that Moscow is open to negotiations with Kyiv.
Egypt is the world’s biggest importer of wheat, relying heavily on Ukraine and Russia for supplies to feed a population of 100 million.
Lavrov will also travel to Ethiopia, Uganda and the Republic of Congo.
Most African countries have not condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine as they seek to maintain balance in their relationships with Russia and western countries.
“The Africans are reciprocating. They are interested in having us. We never engaged in teaching them anything, but helped them overcome their problems so that they could live in their country the way they wanted to,” Lavrov told Russian state media in an interview before he started his tour.
“To this day, we are not lecturing them, unlike the Americans who go around Africa telling everyone ‘do not talk with the Chinese or the Russians,'" he said. "All they care about is their selfish interests, even when they trade with you.”