Moscow has proposed a face-to-face meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson while both are on Africa tours, a senior Russian diplomat said Monday.
“Issues we need to discuss are multiplying, so we have made a proposal (for a meeting) to the US side,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, Russian agencies reported.
Both Lavrov and Tillerson will be visiting Ethiopia in the coming days.
“We don’t have any information about whether their schedules could be aligned. But we believe such contact would be useful,” Ryabkov said.
Lavrov began his five-day Africa tour on Monday with Angola and also plans to visit Namibia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, where he will be in the capital Addis Ababa on March 8 and 9, according to the Russian embassy’s Twitter feed.
Tillerson is to visit African countries including Ethiopia between March 6 and 13, state department spokesperson Heather Nauert announced last week.
The two top diplomats last met in early December in Vienna and have since limited their contacts to telephone conversations, specifically on the Syrian conflict.
Russia has invested in resource extraction projects in Africa and is seeking to expand its trade with sub-Saharan countries, which in 2017 amounted to $3.6 billion (2.93 billion euros).
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