African countries could be sanctioned for trading US-restricted goods with Russia — Thomas-Greenfield

By Enyichukwu Enemanna

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield says African countries are free to buy grain from Russia but could face consequences if they trade in US-sanctioned products , including petroleum.

“Countries can buy Russian agricultural products, including fertilizers and wheat,” Thomas-Greenfield said Thursday, but added that “if a country decides to engage with Russia, where there are sanctions, then he violates these sanctions”.

“We warn countries not to violate these sanctions, because then … they have the possibility of action being taken against them,” she said.

Thomas-Greenfield spoke in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, after a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni, a US ally who has not criticized Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and expressed sympathy for Moscow.

Uganda is the first leg of an African tour by the American official which will include visits to Ghana and Cape Verde. His trip comes a week after Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, visited Africa, rejecting accusations that his country’s invasion of Ukraine is solely responsible for a dangerous food crisis in countries ranging from Somalia to South Sudan.

Lavrov instead blamed the food shortages on the market on “the absolutely inadequate reaction of the West, which announced sanctions” after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Ukraine and Russia are the world’s main suppliers of wheat, barley, corn and sunflower oil, with fighting in the Black Sea region, known as the ‘breadbasket of the world’, driving up prices. food prices, threatening political stability in developing countries and leading countries to ban certain food exports.

Thomas-Greenfield insisted that the sanctions imposed by Washington are not responsible for the rise in food prices in Africa and elsewhere.

She said the United States was seeking to strengthen existing partnerships in African countries such as Uganda and spoke of Museveni, an authoritarian in power for 36 years, as a regional leader with whom the United States has relations. “mutual interests”.

Garland K. Long