EThere is no other destination on his trip, “It’s about Africa,” assured US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a conversation with the South African television station Enca on Monday. It was the second day of his journey through three African countries, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. In public perception, however, another reading dominates. The focus is on Russian and Chinese influence in African countries, which the United States wants to curb. At the end of July, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited various African countries, held political talks and produced high-profile images.
One of the major themes of Blinken’s visit to South Africa was the country’s refusal to condemn the Russian war in Ukraine. Before the trip, several ministers had expressed concern that the United States could therefore put pressure on the government. But South Africa does not appear to be changing its stance. Instead, on Monday, Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor criticized America and other Western countries for focusing on the Ukraine conflict and neglecting other international issues. “We should be just as concerned about what is happening to the people of Palestine as we are to the people of Ukraine,” she said in a joint news conference with Blinken.