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African Union leader Macky Sall to meet Putin on Friday to ‘free cereal stocks’

The chair of the African Union, Senegal’s President Macky Sall, will meet Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Friday as the war in Ukraine exacerbates food insecurity on the continent, a spokesperson for the AU confirmed to POLITICO.

Sall and Moussa Faki Mahamat, the African Union Commission chairperson, will arrive in Russia Thursday and will meet Putin on Friday.

The visit has been planned “amid efforts from the presidency to contribute to deescalation amid the war in Ukraine, and to free stocks of cereals and fertilizers, the blockade of which particularly impacts African countries,” according to a statement to the Senegalese press agency.

Sall joined Wednesday’s European Council summit discussion on food security, telling EU leaders via video that the food supply shortage in Africa was “very serious and alarming.” Russia, which invaded Ukraine in February, is blocking exports from the country’s Black Sea ports. Sall also echoed statements from French President Emmanuel Macron, who said Africa and Europe must “not fall into the trap” and resist Russia’s narrative, which blames the shortage on Western sanctions. The narrative “is out there” in Africa, Sall told his European counterparts Wednesday.

The African Union also accepted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s request to deliver a video address to the AU, the statement said.

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