Russia’s foreign minister again visits Africa, this time in Guinea, as some ties cool with the West

CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived Monday in Guinea on his latest visit to West Africa, where coups and growing discontent with traditional allies like France and the United States have contributed to some countries’ shift toward Moscow.

Lavrov has visited the African continent several times in the past couple of years as Russia seeks support — or at least neutrality — from many of its 54 countries amid Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Lavrov met with Guinea’s foreign minister Morissanda Kouyaté, according to Russia’s foreign ministry. Guinea’s government in a statement said the meeting was to discuss areas of mutual cooperation, without elaborating.

Lavrov was expected to arrive in the Republic of Congo late on Monday evening, where he was due to meet President Denis Sassou N’Guesso in the city of Oyo, according to an official communique from Brazzaville. It wasn’t clear which other countries were on his itinerary later this week.

Guinea has been ruled by a military junta since 2021. Col. Mamadi Doumbouya seized power saying he was preventing Guinea from slipping into chaos and accusing the previous government of broken promises. In February, military leaders dissolved the government without explanation, saying a new one will be appointed.

Doumbouya has rebuffed attempts by the West and other developed countries to intervene in Africa’s political challenges, saying Africans are “exhausted by the categorizations with which everyone wants to box us in.”

Several West African nations including Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso have had coups that installed military juntas. They have severed or scaled back long-standing military ties with Western powers in favor of security support from Russia.

Lavrov visited Mali early last year and pledged military support. Also last year, he visited South Africa — seen as the most significant of several African nations to take a neutral stance on the war in Ukraine — and returned there to attend a meeting of BRICS bloc nations. He also visited Kenya in an outreach in East Africa.

Lavrov late last year toured North Africa, where Russia also seeks to strengthen ties in the vacuum created by the diminishing popularity of Western powers.

In West Africa, the military junta governing Burkina Faso ousted French forces last year and turned to Russia for security support. And in Niger, Russian military trainers arrived weeks after the junta that took power last year ordered U.S. troops to withdraw from the country.


Associated Press writer Louis Patrick Okamba in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, contributed to this report.

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