Personal diplomacy

State Department’s number two, Wendy Sherman, meets two presidents on African tour

By Julian Pecquet

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Posted on May 9, 2022 15:50

Deputy secretary of state Wendy Sherman met with two African presidents in three countries on her first official visit to sub-Saharan Africa since joining the Joe Biden administration.

She visited South Africa, Angola and Gabon during the senior-most diplomatic visit to the region since secretary of state Antony Blinken visited in November. During her five-day trip that ended with a swing by Paris, Sherman honed in on US priorities for relations with the continent, including the fight against climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic, deepening bilateral trade and investment, and pressing for international condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“African voices matter when it comes to Ukraine,” Sherman said in a call with reporters on 6 May. “[President Vladimir] Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is shattering the lives and livelihoods of the Ukrainian people first and foremost – and the Russian people, for that matter, but it is also affecting people around the world, with higher energy prices and food prices, all caused by President Putin’s unprovoked invasion of

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