African Union head Macky Sall says Putin ‘reassured’ him on food shortages
African Union head Macky Sall said on Friday Russia with President Vladimir Putin has "reassured" on food shortages caused by Moscow's military operation in Ukraine.
Putin hosted Sall, who is also the Senegalese president, as well as African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, at his Black Sea residence in Sochi on the 100th day of Moscow's conflict with Ukraine.
Global food shortages and grain supplies stuck in Ukrainian ports were high on the agenda.
"I found Vladimir Putin committed and aware that the crisis and sanctions create serious problems for weak economies, such as African economies," Sall told journalists, adding that he was leaving Russia "very reassured and very happy with our exchanges".
Ahead of the talks, which lasted three hours, Sall asked Putin to "become aware that our countries, even if they are far from the theatre (of action), are victims on an economic level" of the conflict.
He said it was important to work together so that "everything that concerns food, grain, fertiliser is actually outside" Western sanctions imposed on Moscow after Putin sent troops to Ukraine on February 24.
In his remarks in front of reporters before the talks, Putin did not mention grain supplies but said Russia was "always on Africa's side" and was now keen to ramp up cooperation.
"At the new stage of development, we place great importance on our relations with African countries, and I must say this has had a certain positive result," Putin added.
Putin did not make a statement following the talks.
Washington and Brussels have imposed unprecedented sanctions against Moscow, pushing Putin to seek new markets and strengthen ties with countries in Africa and Asia.
The Kremlin said the two leaders discussed expanding "political dialogue" between Russia and the African Union as well as economic and humanitarian cooperation.