Ukraine’s foreign minister on first Africa trip as Kiev seeks support
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Ukraine’s Foreign Minister arrived in Ivory Coast on Wednesday for talks with Vice President Tiemoko Meyliet Kone as Kiev scrambles to court African countries seen as sympathetic to Russia.
Before landing in Abidjan, Dymtro Kuleba was first in Dakar where he met with President Macky Sall.
His vist comes two months after that of his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
“I particularly appreciate the proposal by the vice president to arrange without delay contacts between sectoral ministries and agencies in Ukraine and Cote d’Ivoire to discuss specific projects that two of our countries can do together. We spoke about security, we spoke about agriculture, we spoke about trade and education and we will be working on all of these issues,” Kuleba said after his meeting with Kone
Western and Ukrainian diplomats have been desperately trying to get Africa to abandon its neutral stance in favor of Kiev in its war with Moscow.
In June, in attempt to rally the continent to its side, Ukraine’s President Volodmyr Zelenskyy addressed the African Union via video link.
The conflict has been blamed for contributing to rising food and fuel prices which have affected developing countries.
In the early days of the war, African students attempting to flee accused Ukrainian officials of racism and discrimination. In videos posted on social media, they said they were refused to get on evacuation trains while those who managed to board were forcibly removed.
In March, the United Nations called the maltreatment of Africans ‘unacceptable’.