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    NewsAfricaIn Sudan, Sergei Lavrov defends the operations of the Wagner group in Africa

    In Sudan, Sergei Lavrov defends the operations of the Wagner group in Africa

    Published on : 02/09/2023 – 22:30

    After Mali and Mauritania, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov traveled to Sudan on Thursday where he praised the operations of the paramilitary group Wagner. He also said he supported the call to lift the UN sanctions on this country mired in an economic and political crisis.

    On a visit to Sudan, the head of Russian diplomacy Sergei Lavrov defended, Thursday, February 9, the operations of the paramilitary group Wagner in Africa, “helping to normalize the situation in the region” in the face of the “terrorist” threat.

    The private Russian group is “deployed at the direct request of governments”, Sergei Lavrov said, citing the Central African Republic, a country considered Wagner’s laboratory on the African continent, before the company moved into other countries. such as Mali and Burkina Faso.

    Founded in 2014, this paramilitary group with decried actions and considered by the United States as an international terrorist organization, has established itself as a major player in the conflict in Ukraine. His mercenaries have also been sighted in Syria and Libya.

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    The United States, which has been trying for several years to thwart Russian influence in Africa, accuses the Wagner group of “committing human rights violations and extorting natural resources” on the continent.

    In 2020, Washington imposed sanctions on M-Invest, a Russian company accused of serving as a “cover” for the activities of mercenaries from the Wagner company in Sudan.

    According to the US Treasury, the company obtained in 2017, under the reign of dictator Omar al-Bashir, “concession agreements to explore the gold resources” of Sudan.

    Sudan, for its part, denies the presence of the Russian security group on its soil.

    Meeting with General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane

    Sergei Lavrov’s 48-hour visit to Sudan, the last leg of an African tour, after Mali and Mauritania, is part of Moscow’s move to strengthen its influence in Africa, while Westerners are mobilizing to isolate the country since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

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    Arrived late Wednesday in Khartoum, Sergei Lavrov met on Thursday General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, de facto leader of Sudan, his deputy General Mohammed Hamdan Daglo, boss of the very feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Minister of Acting Foreign Affairs Ali al-Sadiq.

    At the end of this meeting, the Russian minister declared in front of journalists that he supported the efforts of Sudan, a country mired in an economic and political crisis, to put an end to the sanctions imposed on it by the UN: Khartoum is under a series of sanctions and an arms embargo, adopted in 2005 during the bloody conflict in Darfur, in the west of the country.

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    “We also discussed our economic cooperation and investments” linking the two countries, said Sergei Lavrov, praising Khartoum’s efforts “to attract Russian investments”.

    The economy of this large East African country, one of the poorest in the world, has been battered by years of US economic sanctions under the reign of Omar al-Bashir.

    The democratic transition has given hope: in 2020, Washington removed Sudan from its list of countries supporting terrorism, international aid returned but the coup led on October 25, 2021 by the head of the army , General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, interrupted this transition and the granting of this aid – the latter will be restored on the condition that the civilians regain power, warn the donors.

    With AFP

    Source: France 24


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