The United States Ambassador to the United Nations Thomas Greenfield Linda has said her visit to Uganda this week is aimed at having a conversation with African countries on how to overcome the skyrocketing food prices.
Greenfield Linda’s visit comes at the heels of Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov who visited uganda recently. But she says her visit to Uganda this week has no connection to Lavrov’s.
She was speaking to journalists on Tuesday about her trip to Africa which will see her visit Uganda and Ghana. Increasing food insecurity is being partly blamed on the ongoing war in Europe between Russia and Ukraine.
“I’m here to talk about solutions and how we can help Africa address the crisis on the ground,” Greenfield said.
Last week, Lavrov was in Kampala where he met President Yoweri Museveni. In a press conference that came after closed-door meetings with the president.
Lavrov said the West led by the United States was on a disinformation campaign accusing Russia of solely being responsible for the increasing fuel and food prices across the continent.
Lavrov said that even when the West never sanctioned Russian agricultural exports such as grain and fertilizers, the sanctions on their banks and insurance companies make it very hard to transact international business.
He said that the ongoing war in Ukraine was largely triggered by the Russian desire to protect itself against Western powers under their NATO alliance.
In the same press briefing president, Museveni said Uganda will never take sides in the conflict between Russia and the West. Uganda has abstained from all United Nations votes condemning the Ukrainian war.
Museveni said Uganda will only look out for its interests and will deal with anybody including Russia regardless of whether this will annoy the Americans. “We are neither pro-East nor pro-West. I’m pro-Uganda,” Museveni said.
Asked about these comments, Greenfield said Russia should take responsibility for its actions. “Our relations with Africa are one of the partnerships…we are not asking Africa to make any choices, to choose between Russia and the US. Let’s be clear, Russia started this war; everything we are going through came about because of Russia’s decision to attack its neighbor. That’s what this is about and Africa must understand this. I’m not here to counter what the Russian Foreign Minister said during his visit; I’m here to listen to Africa to help them deal with the global problem,” Greenfield said.
However, when asked whether African countries are free to trade with Russia despite the sanctions, Greenfield said it would be risky. “Our sanctions are intended to discourage Russia from continuing with the aggression on Ukraine. I would caution that countries should not engage with countries that have been sanctioned by the United States,” Greenfield.
On her visit, Greenfield is expected to meet with President Museveni and other government officials. She is also expected to address a press conference of selected media houses where she will take questions on the relationship between the US and Africa including Uganda.