Lavrov highlights Russia’s efforts in Africa amid Western criticism

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov took aim Tuesday at the West and its supposed “objectives” in Ukraine and Libya during a visit to the Congo as part of his Africa tour.

He also told reporters he supports talks to reconcile warring parties in Libya.

“We support the initiative of (Republic of Congo) President Denis Sassou Nguesso which aims to organise an inter-Libyan conference,” he said, following a meeting with Sassou who also chairs a high-level committee on Libya in the African Union.

Libya is divided between a UN-recognised government based in Tripoli led by Abdelhamid Dbeibah and a rival administration in the country’s east backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar, with whom Moscow maintains close relations.

“What is happening in Libya is a tragedy, whose authors are NATO and its members,” Lavrov said, adding that “the same thing happened in Iraq and in Afghanistan where the West wanted to impose its version of democracy”.

“The most important thing today is to find an approach which assures the re-establishment of the country,” he added of Libya.

-Ukraine war-
Lavrov said that on the Ukraine war “President Sassou has shown understanding”, particularly with regard to “our actions”.

“He understands well that Ukraine is an instrument of the West, whose objective is to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia,” he said.

Sassou Nguesso, “like other world leaders”, is convinced that a peace conference on Ukraine scheduled for mid-June in Switzerland “makes no sense” without Russia’s participation, Lavrov added.

The Kremlin said on Tuesday morning that western army instructors who train Ukrainian soldiers would have no “immunity” from Russian strikes, amid reports that France could send military trainers to Ukraine.

“Whatever their status: soldiers of the French army or mercenaries, they represent a completely legitimate target for our armed forces,” Lavrov said.

For several years, Russia has been leading a diplomatic offensive in Africa to supplant traditional Western powers there.

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