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US Re-Affirms Africa Support

FILE - U.S. United Nations Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, speaks during a press conference at U.N. headquarters, Sept. 27, 2022.

U.S. authorities say Washington firmly supports Africa having representation on the United Nations Security Council and that President Joe Biden’s administration is committed towards strengthening relations and investment opportunities between the two regions.

For more, VOA’s Anita Powell spoke to Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

The interview was edited for brevity and clarity.

VOA: Let’s talk about the idea of having an African Union seat on the G20 and African representation on the United Nations Security Council. What are the merits of that and how soon could we see that happen?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: There are 54 countries on the continent of Africa with a population of over a billion people. We need to include these voices in these key institutions.

The President made clear that the Security Council needs to be more representative and needs to be more inclusive.

President Biden stated very categorically that we support having an African permanent representative on the Security Council.

VOA: Let’s talk about the carrots and sticks that the U.S. is using to influence African countries to back Washington in its condemnation of Russia. What tools do you have available and how are you using them?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: First and foremost, we don’t use sticks. The Russians have accused the U.S. of threatening and coercing countries into voting in our favor.

The United States has never used coercion. Instead, we talk about the importance of the values of supporting the UN Charter, the value of supporting democracy, the value of supporting a country – Ukraine – that has been attacked by a larger neighbor.

We’re not paying countries to vote in favor of condemning Russia, neither are we threatening those who are against it.

The U.S. is appealing to them and their values.

VOA: Let’s just talk about the objective of a possible Biden visit to Africa. What would be the point of such a visit? What would it accomplish?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: It will further reaffirm our commitment to the people of Africa.

Every single time we’ve had a presidential visit – and I was on the visit when President Obama went in 2014; I was in Africa when President Bush went – and I have seen the value that people really – just the emotions that they feel when a U.S. president comes to their country.

This will be an opportunity for the people of Africa and if the President decides to make such a visit – they will see our commitment to them.