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Food is Russian "Weapon"- Macron

Cameroon's President Paul Biya welcomes his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron at the presidential palace in Yaounde, Cameroon, July 26, 2022

French President Emmanuel Macron described the global food crisis as one of Russia's "weapons of war" during a visit to Cameroon on Tuesday, dismissing suggestions Western sanctions were to blame.

"Food, like energy have become Russian weapons of war ... We must help the African continent to produce more for itself," Macron said.

"We are blamed by some who say that European sanctions (on Russia) is the cause of the world food crisis, including in Africa. It is totally false," Macron said during a meeting with the French community in Cameroon.

The French president is meeting Cameroon's President Paul Biya in the capital Yaounde before heading to Benin on Wednesday and Guinea-Bissau on Thursday.

Cameroon, a mineral-rich central African nation, is a major food producer for the region and Macron's delegation will seek investment opportunities in the agricultural sector.

Macron is on a three-leg tour of Africa, a trip meant to strengthen political ties with the continent and help boost agricultural production amid the growing food insecurity linked to the war in Ukraine.

African governments have largely avoided taking sides and refused to join Western condemnation and sanctions.

Many African nations are dependent on Russian grain and energy, but they also buy Ukrainian grain that has been disrupted by the conflict.

Moscow denies responsibility for the food crisis, blaming Western sanctions for slowing its food and fertilizer exports and Ukraine for mining the approaches to its ports.

The Macron trip is his first in Africa since his re-election in April - coincides with visits by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Mike Hammer to different countries across the continent.