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From Washington, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa criticizes a bill targeting Moscow

US President Joe Biden received his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa on September 16 to discuss the partnership between the United States and South Africa. Speaking to journalists after the meeting, the South African president described the meeting as “very fruitful and positive”, while recalling that his country did not intend to deviate from its position of neutrality regarding the situation in Ukraine.

As such, he criticized a bill which is currently following its course in the American Congress and which is intended to “counter the harmful activities of Russia in Africa” (“Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act”).

If this law were definitively adopted, “it would give the impression that Africa is being punished because it has Russia as a partner. The majority of African countries are non-aligned and we have made it known that it would be unfair for the United States to punish [les pays africains entretenant des relations avec Moscou]“, estimated the South African president.

South Africa has in fact adopted a position of neutrality which notably led it to abstain during the vote on March 2, 2022 of a UN resolution which demanded that “Russia immediately cease to resort to force against Ukraine”. The vote had then collected 58 abstentions, including 16 countries from the African continent, out of the 193 member countries of the UN General Assembly, as noted by TV5 Monde. South Africa also abstained in the vote to suspend Russia from the United Nations Human Rights Council, along with 58 other states.

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