The Global South media on the war in Ukraine (12.05 – 19.05)
- Perspectives on conflict resolution
An-Nahar, a leading Arabic-language daily newspaper printed in Lebanon, published on May 17, the article “African leaders are heading to Kiev and Moscow next month”, devoted to the plans of South Africa and other African countries to start negotiation process aimed at establishing peace in Ukraine.
“African leaders seeking to broker peace in Ukraine will begin their mission in Moscow and Kiev next month, a senior South African government official said Wednesday. And President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky “agreed to receive” the leaders of African countries in Moscow and Kiev. The leaders of Zambia, Senegal, the Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Egypt and South Africa will lead the initiative, which has been welcomed by the United Nations.
“The dates are to be confirmed,” said Zain Dangor, Director General of the South African Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “But in early June, the leaders of the six countries will move between the two capitals to participate in facilitating peace talks or at least move towards a ceasefire,” he added. “We also contacted other actors, including the United States. There is general support for this initiative,” he added. South Africa, which has maintained close ties with the Kremlin for years resisting apartheid, has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying it is “neutral” and favors dialogue. The peace plan could help Pretoria improve its image as a neutral player and mediator, after accusations of bias in favor of Russia. The announcement came after it was revealed that the commander of the South African land forces was in Moscow to discuss military cooperation.”
It also comes days after the US ambassador to Pretoria, South Africa, was accused of sending weapons and ammunition to Russia in December. South Africa conducted joint military exercises with Russia and China at the beginning of the year. It is scheduled to host a summit of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in August, to which Putin was invited. https://www.annahar.com/arabic/section/10-%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AA/17052023033331334/%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%A9-%D8%A3%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%82%D8%A9-%D9%8A%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%AC%D9%87%D9%88%D9%86-%D8%A5%D9%84%D9%89-%D9%83%D9%8A%D9%8A%D9%81-%D9%88%D9%85%D9%88%D8%B3%D9%83%D9%88-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B4%D9%87%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%82%D8%A8%D9%84
- Economic problems caused by the war in Ukraine
The Hindu, an Indian English-language daily newspaper, reported on May 18 about the a 77.5% plunge in quarter net profits of GAIL, the state-owned gas distributor. One of the main reasons of the fall was the temporary interruption of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies from Russia caused by Western sanctions. Due to the resumption of Gazprom supplies of LNG, the company is expecting the profits to return to normal in the near future.
“GAIL (India) Ltd., the country’s largest gas distributor, on Thursday, reported a 77.5% slump in March quarter net profit after high gas prices and supply disruption from Russia impacted earnings across businesses. The company posted a net profit of ₹603.52 crore in January-March compared with ₹2,683.11 crore in the same period a year earlier, according to a stock exchange filing. The fall in profit was because gas volumes dropped due to high prices and a snag in supplies from Russia.
“High prices and non-availability of lower price long-term LNG affect every segment of business,” GAIL chairman and managing director Sandeep Kumar Gupta told reporters here. Because of high prices, some consumers shunned buying gas and instead used cheaper liquid fuels like naphtha. This along with a former unit of Russian energy giant Gazprom stopped liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies because of sanctions that followed the Ukraine war, resulting in lower gas volumes transmitted through GAIL pipelines. GAIL not just earns from selling gas but also from transporting fuel. Besides, lower supplies meant the company had to cut supplies to some customers, including its own petrochemical plant.
“We had to take a hit practically in every segment of the business,” Mr. Gupta said. With prices softening in recent weeks, GAIL has got supplies shored up and is now supplying gas to full contracted volumes to all consumers since March 16. Sefe Marketing and Trading Singapore Pte Ltd. (SMTS), erstwhile Gazprom Marketing and Trading Singapore Pte Ltd., has also resumed normal supplies of LNG, Mr. Gupta said, adding volumes and margins are expected to return to normal in the current year.”. https://www.thehindu.com/business/gail-net-profit-drops-775-on-russian-gas-supply-woes/article66867614.ece
Afrik.com, pan-African information website, uniting journalists from 12 countries, published on May 18 the article “What we know about the extension of the Black Sea grain deal ” (“Ce que l’on sait de la prolongation de l’accord céréalier en mer Noire”), in which it was stressed that the continuation of the Russian and Ukrainian grain export has a great importance to African countries.
”The agreement on the export of Ukrainian cereals via the Black Sea has been renewed for two months. It was a relief to African countries, though Moscow had promised to deliver cereals to the continent, in the event of non-renewal of this agreement.
“Only some of the demands of Moscow have been satisfied. Indeed, while Ukrainian grain exports have been able to resume, Russian fertilizer and food exports remain hampered by Western sanctions. Mostly because of that this renewal will be valid only for 60 days. But despite that, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres declared that “these agreements are important for world food security. Ukrainian and Russian products feed the world. Under the Black Sea Initiative, millions of tons of food have been exported.”
The UN Secretary General even mentioned that “30,000 tons of wheat that had already left Ukraine, on board a ship chartered by the World Food Program”, will be used “to feed the starving people in Sudan”. The violent war between the army and the Rapid Support Forces, that broke in this African country, has already led to the death of 800 civilians and displacement of more than a million people. However, according to the UN, only a quarter of Ukraine’s food exports go to the poorest countries. Half of these exports are delivered to Western Europe. The war in Ukraine is one of the reasons of soaring food prices, which are provoking. https://www.afrik.com/prolongation-accord-cerealier-mer-noire?utm_source=webpushr&utm_medium=push&utm_campaign=298092
(Translated from French by IISWU)
- Impact of the war on the Global South relations with Russia, China and the West
The Philippine Daily Inquirer, an English-language newspaper in the Philippines, published on May 18, the article “China looks to strengthen ties in Russia’s Central Asian backyard”, in which it is supposed that the Russia’s engagement in the war in Ukraine has allowed China to increase its influence in the former Soviet republics, which were closely aligned with Russia.
“China will for the first time host an in-person summit of central Asian leaders this week, seeking to cement ties in a region seen as Russia’s backyard as its relations with the West sour. President Xi Jinping is expected to discuss deepening economic and security links with counterparts from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, former soviet states that analysts say are eager for alternative sources of investment with Moscow’s focus fixed on its war in Ukraine.”
“The two-day summit starting Thursday in the western city of Xian, will overlap with a Group of Seven (G7) meeting in Japan from May 19-21 where efforts to counter China will be among the main talking points for leaders of the rich, western democracies. “Beijing wants to promote a new alternative to the global order, and try to persuade the Central Asian region that this new global order is better for them too,” said Adina Masalbekova, a research fellow at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek. The inaugural China-Central Asia leaders summit was held online last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first in-person summit, Xian is a symbolic nod to the importance of economic ties as the city was pivotal in the ancient Silk Road trade route that spans Central Asia.
“One of the biggest trump cards that we expect to see at this summit is a serious opening for Central Asian products to enter the Chinese market. This is something that the region has been asking for a couple of years now,” said Niva Yau, a Kyrgyzstan-based fellow of the Atlantic Council’s Global China Hub. China’s trade with the five Central Asia states has multiplied a hundred-fold since the establishment of diplomatic ties three decades ago, after the break-up of Soviet Union. Investment between China and the five nations reached a record high of more than 70 billion dollars in 2022. In the lead-up to the summit, Chinese state media highlighted the importance of the region as a gateway for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – a major infrastructure policy announced by Xi when he visited Kazakhstan in 2013.”
“They understand that it’s very important to have alternative partners to Russia, and the number one alternative you have is China,” said Temur Umarov, a fellow at the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Centre based in Berlin. In exchange for greater economic cooperation, China will be seeking support in keeping the region secure, say analysts”.
Analysts say leaders are also likely to discuss the Ukraine war and reaffirm a position shared by both China and Russia that the region should not be used by the United States and other external powers to fight a proxy war or instigate internal unrest. https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1770851/china-looks-to-strengthen-ties-in-russias-central-asian-backyard
The Daily Prothom Alo, a daily newspaper in Bangladesh, published on May 19, the article “China, Central Asia must ‘fully unleash’ potential: Jinping”, in which it is stated that since Russia has been engrossed in the war in Ukraine, a vacuum in Central Asia is created and China is trying to fill it.
“The Chinese leader is hosting the leaders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan at a summit in Xi’an in northern China this week — a meeting Beijing has said is of “milestone” significance. Beijing says trade with Central Asia reached $70 billion in 2022 and expanded 22 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2023. The region is also a crucial link in China’s trillion-dollar global infrastructure project, the Belt and Road Initiative. The scheme is a defining geopolitical project for Xi, with Beijing keen to restart cooperation and fill the vacuum left in former Soviet states by Russia’s war in Ukraine”.
“On Friday, Xi said the region and China must “take the lead” in that project and “deepen strategic mutual trust” in a bid to “uphold everlasting friendship”. “China welcomes the participation of Central Asian countries in special cooperative plans under the Belt and Road Initiative, including sustainable development technologies, innovation and entrepreneurship, and spatial information technology,” Xi said. He also stressed the need to expand security cooperation on what Beijing dubbed the “three evils” in the region: separatism, terrorism and extremism. “The six countries should resolutely oppose external interference in the internal affairs of regional countries and attempts to instigate ‘color revolutions,’” Xi said, a reference to unrest in former Soviet states that Moscow and others allege is backed by the West.”
“This week’s summit comes as Xi positions himself as a global statesman keen to expand China’s reach far beyond its borders. “Xi will position himself as a leader that can promote global development and peace,” Zhiqun Zhu, a Professor of International Relations and Political Science at Bucknell University, told AFP. The summit also coincides with a meeting of the G7 in Hiroshima that will likely focus on efforts to “push back China’s growing influence around the world”, Zhu noted“. https://en.prothomalo.com/international/asia/kbajp2gv73