The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has adopted an African Union declaration opposing a United States law that seeks to punish African countries that maintain political and economic relations with Russia.In a communique at the end of an emergency summit of its security organ, SADC castigated the US government for allegedly trying to unduly influence the foreign policies of African countries by introducing punitive measures for those that support Russia in its war against Ukraine.
“Summit adopted the draft African Union Declaration on the USA-proposed ‘Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act’ and urged member states to communicate SADC’s position, and reaffirmed the stance of non-alignment on conflicts outside the continent and the region at multilateral fora,” the regional bloc said.
The Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act was passed by the House of Representatives in April 2022 and later approved by the US Senate.
The Act is designed to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin from using Africa to bypass US sanctions and fund his war in Ukraine.
The law is broadly worded enabling the US State Department to monitor the foreign policy of the Russian Federation in Africa, including military affairs and any effort which Washington deems as “malign influence.”
The US government would have to counter such activities, including through foreign aid programmes.
Among other measures, it would “hold accountable the Russian Federation and African governments and their officials who are complicit in aiding such malign influence and activities.”
The SADC leaders reaffirmed their collective position of non-alignment towards conflicts outside the continent, insisting that they would not be drawn to take sides in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
The SADC security organ summit was attended by the leaders of Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Eswatini and Lesotho as well as ministers from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique.