US Secretary of State Blinken in South Africa on Africa tour

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken began his three-country journey through 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 support from African countries during 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 have taken a neutral stance on the war and have not publicly criticized Russia.

Sunday, after arriving early in the morning, Blinken visits the Hector Pieterson memorial in Soweto municipality, which commemorates a student who was killed in 1976 while protesting South Africa’s regime of racial oppression, apartheid, which ended in 1994. .

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

Blinken and Pandor will also hold a press conference on Monday that is expected to reveal the two countries’ differing stances on the war in Ukraine.

Blinken will visit Congo and Rwanda this week to conclude his international tour that also took him to Cambodia and the Philippines.

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