In a vote at the UN General Assembly, several African countries decided to break their neutrality and vote against Russia. A choice due to American pressure, constant since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine.
On Wednesday, at the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) in New York, 143 countries voted in favor of a resolution declaring "illegal" the annexation of four Ukrainian regions. Only five countries opposed it, including no Africans. But unlike of the last votes at the UN, African countries have, for some of them, avoided abstaining to vote in favor of the resolution.
Refusing to vote for the condemnation of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, Morocco, Senegal or even Angola and Madagascar had preferred to abstain previously for some, not to stand for election for others. An understandable neutrality, integrating fully withina strategy of historical non-alignment on the part of Africa which had already suffered the full brunt of the first Cold War.
Macky Sall comes out of his neutrality
This time, several African countries, so far neutral, opted for a vote against Russia. Thus, Gabon voted in favor of the resolution, like Rabat, which at the time did not vote. merely following "with worry and concern the development of the situation between Ukraine and the Russian Federation". For Senegal, the choice is more surprising: current president of the African Union, Macky Sall went from a logical abstention to a vote in favor of Ukraine.
Washington has been putting pressure on Africa for several weeks. Notably during a tour of East Africa by American diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who said that African countries could "buy Russian agricultural products, including fertilizers and wheat", but that the States States would refuse any long-term commitment with Russia. Thereby, Uganda had to give up the purchase of Russian fuel. But the country of Museveni however abstained, like Algeria, Togo, Burundi, South Sudan and Sudan.
Even more surprisingly than Senegal, Eritrea abstained from voting, where it generally cast ballots in favor of Moscow at the UN. Only Southern Africa finally held its line, that of non-alignment, by abstaining: South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Eswatini all avoided speaking out.
Finally, on the side of Mali or the Central African Republic, reputed to be close to Russia, as well as on the side of Guinea, they also opted for abstention. As for Burkina Faso, which just suffered a new coup, he did not take part in the vote.
It is therefore not a revolution, but the African countries have apparently, for some, reviewed their respective positions. The result of intense American lobbying. The American Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, had, a few days before this vote at the UN, indicated that “the time has come to commit on behalf of Ukraine. It is no longer about abstentions, soothing words or equivocations under the pretext of neutrality. The founding principles of the United Nations Charter are at stake”. A message addressed, in half-words, to Africa.