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German, French ministers want African solidarity with Europe

January 13, 2023

The top envoys said they wanted African countries to be part of a more unified front against Russia. Many African nations have shown a reluctance to condemn Russia's invasion.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (left) speaking next to Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (middle) and her French counterpart Catherine Colonna (right) at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa.
Baerbock (left) and Colonna (right) met the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat (middle), at the African Union headquarters in Addis AbabaImage: picture alliance/dpa

The German and French foreign ministers wrapped up a two-day visit to Ethiopia on Friday, calling for cooperation between Europe and African countries to respond to world crises, including the war in Ukraine.

Speaking at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said they wanted Africa to show solidarity with Europe against Russia's war in Ukraine.

"In these times, when our peaceful order in Europe has been attacked by the Russian war of aggression, we, as Europeans, need the support of our friends and partners worldwide," Baerbock said.

Her French counterpart, Catherine Colonna, said it was "important to remember that there is an aggressor and an attacked, and it is important that everyone tells the aggressor that he must stop his aggression."

Though the AU has condemned Russia's invasion, many nations on the continent remained neutral because they have long-standing ties with Russia.

"We have common interests, and we have expectations of our African friends, and we have shared them with you," Colonna said.

Africa's place at the UN Security Council

The two ministers spoke alongside Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairman of the AU Commission.

He called it an "injustice" that Africa does not have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council even though "70%" of the Council's work relates to the African continent.

"We want to intensify the relationship between the EU and the African Union," Baerbock said.

She recalled Germany's support for reforming the UN Security Council, allowing the African continent to have two permanent seats.

Colonna also backed "better integration of the African continent into global governance" with better representation of the continent.

Is Russia using wheat as leverage?

Baerbock said cooperation between the European Union and African Union was also necessary to tackle other major crises including climate change and food shortages.

"We can only solve these common crises and challenges together," Barebock said.

lo/msh (AFP, dpa)