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Trudeau fails to 'Ukrainize' Commonwealth Summit


The Commonwealth Heads of State Summit concluded on Saturday in Kigali, Rwanda. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has done everything to impose support for Ukraine. But 18 countries, especially African ones, refused.

Arrived in Kigali last Wednesday, the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that he wanted to "strengthen cooperation between Canada and Africa". To do this, he counted on the Commonwealth Heads of State Summit (CHOGM 2022). An event that was postponed for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Its holding in Rwanda, between June 21 and 25, was an opportunity toannounce the integration of Togo and Gabon into the Anglophone bloc.

After several announcements, such as that of Canada's permanent observer status with the African Union (AU), as well as that of the creation of a special Rwanda-Canada commission, Prime Minister Trudeau initiated a series of 20 encounters. Objective: to convince his counterparts, mainly African, to formulate an official condemnation of the "militarization of the food crisis by Russia" on behalf of the Commonwealth. The Canadian leader also wanted to “condemn the illegal invasion of Ukraine” by the heads of state present.

However, the Commonwealth's final communiqué simply says that the “Commonwealth of Nations takes note of the UN resolution condemning Russia”. As for the food crisis, to which Friday was devoted, the African Heads of State called for “promoting Commonwealth investment in agriculture in Africa”.

African presidents don't want to talk about Ukraine with Trudeau

The Canadian channel CBC believes that "Trudeau made a fool of himself" in Kigali. The Canadian Prime Minister's one-on-one with Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Hakainde Hichilema (Zambia), Muhammadu Buhari (Nigeria), Nana Akufo-Addo (Ghana), but also with WTO Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala , the chairman of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, as well as the president of CAF Patrice Motsepe have above all shown that the African leaders all refuse to take a position on Ukraine.

Read: African presidents shun Volodymyr Zelensky

Kagame and Hichilema preferred, for their part, to discuss ecology with the North American leader. As for Akufo-Addo and Buhari, although they accepted Trudeau's "congratulations on the condemnation of Russia" at the UN, they clearly avoided discussing the subject.

Other African presidents, invited to Rwanda for CHOGM 2022, have absented themselves. Filipe Nyusi from Mozambique and Yoweri Museveni from Uganda in particular. But, also, the new members of the Commonwealth, Togo and Gabon, which were represented by their Ministers of Foreign Affairs. Ali Bongo, for his part, justified his absence by “the resurgence of Covid-19 cases”. As for Faure Gnassingbé, he simply tweeted that he thanked the Commonwealth for accepting his country's membership.

On the side of South Africa, whose President Cyril Ramaphosa was also expected in Kigali, another summit took precedence over CHOGM 2022. Indeed, Cyril Ramaphosa remained in Pretoria, from where he attended the work of the 14th BRICS Summit by videoconference. India, also a member of the Commonwealth, left for the same reason.

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