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Lavrov Africa tour focuses on terrorism
February 11, 2013, 3:22 pm


Sergey Lavrov says Russia has no plans to deploy troops to the Middle East or North Africa. [AP]

Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, is expected to visit Algeria as the first stop on a tour of African countries including South Africa, Mozambique and New Guinea.

Russian officials say the recent Al-Qaeda attack on an Algerian gas plant and the war in Mali will figure high on Lavrov’s agenda of talks with his counterpart Mourad Medelci and other leaders in Algiers.

In recent statements to the media, Lavrov blamed the power vacuum created after the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi for the current conflict between Al-Qaeda and the West in Africa.

“Those whom the French and Africans are fighting now in Mali are the (same) people who overthrew the Gaddafi regime, those that our Western partners armed so that they would overthrow the Gaddafi regime,” Lavrov told a news conference recently.

He also said that Russia has no plans to deploy troops to the Middle East or North Africa, preferring instead negotiations through the United Nations and regional organisations.

“This is my answer to those who wonder why we are not fighting for our positions,” Lavrov said on the Sunday Night with Solovyov programme which aired yesterday.

“We will not be fighting for our position … and creating ‘another Afghanistan’ for ourselves; never, under no circumstances,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov also denied earlier media reports that Moscow would provide military assistance to French troops in Mali.

Source: Agencies