US lawmakers urge relocating US-Africa summit over South Africa-Russia ties

A group of American legislators has urged for the relocation of the upcoming US-Africa commerce summit, initially set to take place in South Africa later this yr. The lawmakers cited issues over South Africa’s “deepening army relationship” with Russia as the explanation for his or her request. In a letter addressed to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other high-ranking officers, in addition they warned that South Africa dangers dropping its benefits underneath the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) – the United States’ primary commerce programme.
The AGOA Forum, scheduled to be held in Johannesburg, will see African leaders and US officials collect to discuss the future of the programme, which is as a result of of expire in 2025. South Africa’s exports to the US under AGOA reached practically US$1bn within the first quarter of this year, making the nation the second-largest beneficiary of the programme after Nigeria. African nations aim to extend AGOA, which offers qualifying countries’ exports with preferential access to the US market.
The letter, dated June 9, expressed critical considerations that hosting the 2023 AGOA Forum in South Africa can be an implicit endorsement of the country’s damaging help for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In response, South African foreign ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela took to Twitter, stating that there was no choice by the State Department or White House to move the AGOA Forum from South Africa.
South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry, answerable for managing the nation’s trade relations with the United States, has no plans to publicly handle the letter. Judd Devermont, a particular assistant to President Joe Biden focusing on Africa, acknowledged the White House’s shared considerations with Congress over South Africa’s potential safety partnership with Russia. However, he didn’t affirm whether the administration was considering changing the AGOA Forum’s venue.
Behind the scenes maintains a neutral stance regarding the warfare in Ukraine, with President Cyril Ramaphosa collaborating in African leaders’ efforts to mediate the conflict. Nevertheless, the lawmakers expressed frustration with South Africa’s joint naval operations with China and Russia in February and its plans to hold a BRICS summit, to which Russian President Vladimir Putin is invited despite being charged with war crimes by the International Criminal Court.
The legislators also supported the US ambassador to South Africa’s declare that a sanctioned Russian vessel collected weapons at a South African naval base final yr. South African officials deny data of such an arms switch and have initiated an independent inquiry into the incident..

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