US struggles to get Africa to break up with Russia’s Wagner Group

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Infuriated by a report in French daily Le Monde that the Joe Biden administration had given him 12 months to cut ties with the Kremlin-linked mercenaries, Central African Republic (CAR) President Faustin-Archange Touadéra summoned US Ambassador Patricia Mahoney to the Renaissance Palace in Bangui to set things straight. While Touadéra subsequently tweeted that the pair had simply discussed bilateral cooperation and “fake news,” the US embassy left little doubt that it had gotten the message.

“We appreciate our relationship with our Central African friends,” the embassy replied, in French. “We always respect CAR’s sovereignty. Rumours of ultimatums or closing of the embassy are false. We are proud to be the biggest humanitarian aid donor and a preferred partner for CAR.”

The exchange laid bare the limitations of the Joe Biden administration’s ability to deal with a tentacular business

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