Visit comes amidst possible new sanctions by the EU and the US against Russia over its military engagement in Ukraine
In what could be seen as Russia’s diplomatic effort to win Africa’s favor to its contested military role in eastern Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s is expected to pay a second visit Ethiopia in Mid September, Russian Ambassador to Ethiopia Vsevolod Tkachenko said told state news agency ENA. This would be the second time for Lavrov to visit Ethiopia. PM Lavrov first visited Ethiopia in 2006.
Ambassador Tkachenko says, “the visit [is] aimed at strengthening our political cooperation and interaction and various bilateral areas .We are planning to discuss the full agenda of our bilateral relations and our cooperation on the international arena, of course we will discuss issues of economic cooperation in general and prospects of new bilateral agreements which will facilitate our cooperation in various fields.”
According to the state news agency FM Sergey Lavrov is expected to meet Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, and Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom. The most important agenda, however, will be his meeting with Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the continental body, African Union Commission (AUC).
According to Ambassador Tkachenko aside from bolstering bilateral ties between Ethiopia and Russia, FM Lavrov will discuss about “peace and stability in Eastern Africa, and incidents in different hotspots of the world including Russia-Ukraine affairs and the Middle East.”
Currently, Russia is facing an increasing pressure from the international community over its disputed military engagement in Eastern Ukraine. On Saturday Aug. 30th, media reports said “U.S. officials were working closely with the European Union to keep their Russia sanctions programs aligned in timing and severity.”
But Russia has repeatedly denied having any role in recent turmoil that is threatening to disintegrate Ukraine.
While in Addis Abeba, FM Lavrov will also seek to re-establish the direct flight from Addis Abeba to Moscow, which was suspended in 1991 following the collapse of the military Derg which had closer ties that include military cooperation with the then Soviet Union.