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Lavrov Calls Tillerson’s Remarks About China-Africa Relations “Inappropriate”

HARARE (Zimbabwe), March 8. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov believes that it would be inappropriate for US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to assess negatively relations between China and the African countries while visiting them.

He was speaking at a press conference after talks with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa. When asked to comment on the statement of his US counterpart that China’s policy with regard to Africa threatens the economic and political stability of the countries of that continent, Lavrov said: “I did not know that Rex Tillerson was an expert on the Chinese-African relations. It was not appropriate to criticize the relations of his hosts – when he was a guest there – with another country”.

“Of course, if this is true, but I have not seen such reports,” he added.

Tillerson’s remarks

Earlier, speaking at a press conference in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Tillerson said that African countries should be careful not to forfeit their sovereignty when they accept loans from China, the continent’s biggest trading partner.

“We are not in any way attempting to keep Chinese dollars from Africa,” Tillerson told a news conference in the Ethiopian capital. “It is important that African countries carefully consider the terms of those agreements and not forfeit their sovereignty,” he said, as cited by Reuters.

Tillerson also said that Chinese investments “do not bring significant job creation locally” and criticized how Beijing structures loans to African government.

If a government accepts a Chinese loan and “gets into trouble”, he said, it can “lose control of its own infrastructure or its own resources through default.” He did not give examples, Reuters reported.

According to observers, over the last ten years, China has become one of the largest trading partners of the African countries. China invests billions of dollars in the construction of infrastructure facilities and the development of minerals on the continent.

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