U.S. Lawmakers Ask White House to Punish South Africa for Supporting Russia

U.S. officials have said intelligence suggests that South Africa may have helped supply Russia with arms for the war. South African officials say the country is “nonaligned” on the conflict, and deny selling weapons to Russia.

American lawmakers and the Biden administration have been at odds over how to respond to the suspicion.

While both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill have said it is time for South Africa, usually a strong American ally, to face consequences, the White House has taken a wait-and-see approach to allow President Cyril Ramaphosa to fulfill his promise to investigate whether arms were indeed supplied.

The AGOA forum, which alternates locations between the United States and an African nation each year, is designed to deepen diplomatic and economic ties between America and the continent.

Beyond the forum, the more serious concern for South Africa is that it might lose its access to AGOA all together, which would be a painful blow to a country that relies on the United States as its second-largest trading partner. The lawmakers’ letter described South Africa as “in danger of losing AGOA benefits.”

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