Addis Ababa, 27 July 2022 (TDI):  The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, visited Ethiopia as his last stop on a tour of Africa. The aim of the tour was to shore up support for Russia amidst the war in Ukraine.

The Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Foreign Affairs Minister, Demeke Mekonen, received Russia’s top diplomat in the country’s capital.

Russian Foreign Minister’s visit to Ethiopia

Sergei Lavrov rounded off his African tour by meeting with Ethiopian officials in Addis Ababa. He fended off accusations that his country was exporting hunger through its war in Ukraine.

This came as a result of the western nations’ blame of the invasion for worsening food shortages in record drought-stricken East African countries.

Therefore, the Russian official emphasized strengthening ties with Ethiopia’s federal government in a high-level meeting between him and his Ethiopian counterpart.

This comes at a time when Ethiopia’s relations with the West have soured amid accusations of human rights abuses in the Tigray conflict.

Additionally, Lavrov also delivered a speech to the diplomatic community in Addis Ababa. The discussion was on the ongoing war in Ukraine. Several top diplomats, including Burundi’s Willy Nyamitwe, attended the meeting.

A balancing act

Before his arrival in Ethiopia on Tuesday, Lavrov visited Egypt, Uganda, and the Republic of the Congo to revitalize ties with African partners.

Moscow is also hosting an African Youth Forum between July 26 and 28. It brings together student activists and young leaders from across 29 African countries.

Moreover, Russia has shielded Ethiopia at the UN Security Council since the beginning of the Tigray war in 2020. Russia has used its veto to block statements condemning alleged abuses by Ethiopian forces.

In light of this, the leadership in Addis Ababa was also a preferred country for the Russian tour of Africa.