Don’t Tell Us Who To Associate With – South African President Tells US
South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has appealed to the United States of America not to “punish” African nations by pressuring them to cut ties with Moscow, citing legislation passing through Congress which calls for more US intervention on the continent.
After meeting with US President Joe Biden on Friday, Ramaphosa spoke with reporters about the bill, the Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act, saying the measure “will harm Africa and marginalise the continent.”
“We should not be told by anyone who we can associate with,” he added, noting South Africa’s long-held policy of non-alignment among world powers, RT reports.
Though the two leaders exchanged pleasantries during their sit-down and did not mention the Russia legislation – as detailed in the White House readout of the discussion – Ramaphosa separately spoke with the Congressional Black Caucus during his visit and again offered criticism of the bill.
South Africa is “concerned (about) the possible implications for the African Continent if the ‘Countering Malign Russian Activities Bill’ were to become US law,” he said, adding that it could have “the unintended consequence of punishing the continent for efforts to advance development and growth.”
The president explained that his country considers both Washington and Moscow to be “strategic partners,” while urging American lawmakers not to “punish those who hold independent views,” especially at a time when “President Biden has sought to engage African countries on the basis of respect for their independence and sovereignty.”
However, US policymakers have insisted the bill does not propose any punishments for African states that opt to continue ties with Russia, with National Security Council spokesman John Kirby saying “the United States isn’t making anybody choose between us and somebody else, either when it comes to Ukraine or in the Indo-Pacific region.”