Russia’s Lavrov launches Africa tour in junta-led GuineaMon, 03 Jun 2024 17:19:46 GMT

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was in Guinea on Monday on the first leg of an African tour aimed at buttressing Moscow’s influence in the world’s poorest continent.Russia, which has seen relations with the West plummet after sending troops into Ukraine in 2022, has sought to boost its influence in Africa in recent years. Lavrov arrived at Conakry airport overnight for his first visit to Guinea since 2013. He was received by Guinean counterpart Morissanda Kouyate and later met Guinea’s junta leader Mamady Doumbouya, in power since a 2021 coup.On Monday, at a joint press conference with Kouyate, Lavrov said,  “We did not forget about military-technical cooperation and boosting Guinea’s defence capacities, given the growing threat of terrorism,” according to Russia’s Interfax news agency.Lavrov also touched on economic cooperation and increasing Russian investment in the mineral-rich country, especially in the mining sector, Interfax said.The Russian news agency quoted Kouyate as saying Doumbouya “sent warm greetings to Russian President Vladimir Putin”.Guinea is poor despite considerable mineral and natural resources and has endured decades of dictatorial rule.Russian state news agency TASS said Guinea would be part of a tour of African countries but did not give details on which other nations Lavrov would visit.But another Russian news agency said he was expected in Chad on Wednesday “at the head of an important delegation”.The agency also said that a trip to Burkina Faso was possible, without providing a specific date.The Russian foreign ministry said on its website that Lavrov invited Kouyate to a ministerial conference on Russia-Africa partnership in November at the Black Sea resort of Sochi.Last July, Russian President Vladimir Putin invited African leaders to a summit in Saint Petersburg where he said they agreed to promote a multipolar world order and to fight neo-colonialism.