Russian top diplomat Lavrov in Eswatini

Brussels 25.01.2023 Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has arrived in Eswatini, TASS news agency reported.

Russia’s top diplomat flew to Mbabane from South Africa where he started his African tour.

The Kingdom of Eswatini, previously known as Swaziland, is a constitutional monarchy with the current constitution in force since February 8, 2006. The country is a member of the British-led Commonwealth.

Eswatini with a population of 1,172,369 people (as of 2021) is bordered by South Africa and Mozambique. It has had diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation since November 19, 1999.

The visit to Eswatini followed after the visit to Pretoria, which had a substantial media coverage. South Africa plans to hold joint naval exercises Operation Mosi with Russia and China in February.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited South Africa for the first time since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2023 which Pretoria has refused to condemn. Moscow has historic ties with Pretoria as well along with the business links through the Brics bloc of emerging economies.

Mr Lavrov is due to hold talks with his South African counterpart, Naledi Pandor, in Pretoria.

South Africa and Russia have never appeared closer since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Le Monde newspaper writes. Visiting Pretoria on Monday, January 23, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov received a warm welcome from his South African counterpart Naledi Pandor, who described Russia as a “friendly” country. The meeting came after South Africa recently confirmed joint military drills with the Russian and Chinese navies – a commitment firmly criticized by the United States, which announced “concerned.”

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