US Secretary of State Blinken in South Africa for Africa Tour

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken kicked off his three-nation tour of Africa with his arrival in South Africa on Sunday.

Blinken’s visit to Africa is seen as part of a competition between Russia and Western powers for the support of African countries in the war in Ukraine. Blinken’s trip to Africa follows recent tours by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and French President Emmanuel Macron.

South Africa is one of many African countries that has maintained a neutral stance on the war and has not publicly criticized Russia.

After an early morning arrival on Sunday, Blinken is due to visit the Hector Pieterson Memorial in Soweto Township, which commemorates a student killed in 1976 while protesting against South Africa’s racially oppressive apartheid regime. , which ended in 1994.

On Monday, Blinken will outline US strategies for sub-Saharan Africa in a major policy speech at the University of Pretoria. Africa has been hit hard by the effect of the global COVID-19 pandemic and rising food and oil prices caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Blinken and Pandor will also hold a press conference on Monday at which the two countries’ differing positions on the war in Ukraine are expected to be on display.

Blinken will travel to Congo and Rwanda this week to complete his international tour which also took him to Cambodia and the Philippines.

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