Russia won't interfere in 'political situations of any country,' Sergey Lavrov tells Eswatini media

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
PHOTO: Russian Foreign Ministry/Anadolu Agency/Han
  • Russia's foreign affairs minister says the federation is not concerned about the internal politics of other countries.
  • There are calls for Eswatini to be suspended from SADC over human rights advocate Thulani Maseko's murder.
  • There have been no updates from the Eswatini government or known investigations around Maseko's death.

Russia's foreign affairs minister, Sergey Lavrov, would not comment on the situation in Eswatini, Africa's last absolute monarchy, saying that his country does not interfere in the internal politics of other countries.

During a visit to the country on Tuesday, Lavrov was responding to journalists' questions about the volatile situation in Eswatini and said it was Russian policy not to be involved in the internal affairs of any country.

Lavrov's visit came after human rights advocate, Thulani Rudolf Maseko, was gunned down on Saturday.

"As a matter of principle, we do not interfere with the political situations of any country. So I cannot comment on those insinuations," he said.

Next month, it will be a year since Russia invaded Ukraine. The war has been condemned globally.

In March 2022, the United Nations (UN) voted to push for an end to the war and the withdrawal of its troops from Ukraine.

READ | Give cops information linking King Mswati to Maseko assassination - Eswatini government

A few hours before Maseko was murdered, King Mswati III issued an ominous warning to his critics that "whoever continues with this demonic behaviour will face the consequences this year".

The United States and United Kingdom are leading calls for justice for Maseko.

Civil society organisations have also called on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) to encourage the Eswatini government to do a thorough and independent investigation.

"The commission urges the government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to set up an independent inquiry to investigate the murder of Advocate Maseko with a view to apprehending, prosecuting, and punishing those found responsible for his death," the AU's Commission on Human and People's Rights said.

ALSO READ | Slain Eswatini human rights defender Thulani Maseko was a 'lone beacon of light'

In a statement, the Botswana National Front (BNF) called for the immediate suspension of Eswatini from SADC.

Maseko was the leader of the Swaziland Multi Stakeholder Forum, a grouping of civil society and opposition parties calling for a boycott of Eswatini's Tinkhundla elections this year.

He was killed a day before participating in a live dialogue about Eswatini politics on Swaziland News.

Authorities in Eswatini are yet to issue an update on the murder case.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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