Senegalese President Macky Sall, who presently leads the African Union, urged Brussels on Sunday to allow African countries to pay for imported Russian wheat and fertilizers despite EU restrictions excluding Russian banks from international payment networks.
“We want to pay, but it is getting increasingly difficult. As a result, we urge the Europeans for the same system that exists for gas and oil,” In an interview with media, Sall stated.
Although Brussels did not impose penalties on Russian grains or fertilizer exports to non-EU nations, it did block numerous Russian banks, notably Sberbank, from the international payment system SWIFT. However, EU laws allow nations to make payments to Russia for other goods such as gas.
Last month, Sall told a meeting of EU leaders that sanctions on Russia’s financial system and difficulties in finding insurers were threatening imports of grains and fertilizers to Africa. After meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this month, he again suggested that Western sanctions contribute to the food crisis.
That problem was also discussed during a bilateral meeting in Paris between Sall and French President Emmanuel Macron last week. Macron then told Sall that disruptions have nothing to do with EU sanctions, according to an Elysée official.
Sall’s demand comes as a Russian naval blockade of the Black Sea is preventing more than 20 million tons of grain from reaching the world’s food supply, and the United Nations, Brussels, and Washington are attempting to resolve the problem.
Sall stated that Senegal is not reliant on grain imports, but that fertilizer shortages will have an influence on domestic output.
“The destabilization of Africa due to famine is as important as the outcome of the war in Ukraine today,” the African leader warned.
The food crisis will be on the agenda when EU leaders meet on Thursday and Friday in Brussels. Heads of state and government are set to again push back against Moscow’s propaganda and to state that Russia is solely responsible for the current food crisis.