Senegalese President Macky Sall, who is also the head of the African Union, will speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Friday, the president’s office confirmed on Thursday, reported The East African.
The visit is aimed at freeing up stocks of cereals and fertilisers, the blockage of which particularly affects African countries, along with easing the Ukraine conflict, Sall’s office said.
The visit was planned after an invitation by Putin, and Sall will travel with the president of the African Union Commission, the Senegalese president’s office added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is also expected to send a video address to the African Union, though no date has been fixed yet.
Due to the ongoing Ukraine war, the cost of fuel, grain and fertilizers have skyrocketed around the globe, which African nations being the worst affected.
Notably, both Russia and Ukraine are major suppliers of wheat and other cereals globally, while Russia is also a key fertilizer producer.
Last month, the United Nations said Africa faces an unprecedented crisis caused by the blockade, compounding difficulties facing the continent, from climate change to the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this week, the Senegalese president appealed European Union leaders to help ease the crisis on key commodities. He said expulsion of Russian banks from the SWIFT financial messaging system could adversely affect food supplies to the continent.
“When the SWIFT system is disrupted, it means that even if the products exist, payment becomes complicated, if not impossible,” Sall said via video-link.”I would like to insist that this issue be examined as soon as possible by our competent ministers in order to find appropriate solutions.”
The Senegalese president also acknowledged that the blockade of Odessa by Russia had harmed Ukrainian food exports. He said he continue to support UN-led efforts to free the port.
Russia has been imposed with a number of sanctions from Western countries after the February 24 invasion of Ukraine.