Africa can speak for itself, but when France tries to speak for Africa, this reflects its neo-colonialist mentality, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told Anadolu Agency in a news briefing on Thursday.
Commenting on remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron claiming that Moscow is pursuing "a predatory policy" in Africa, Maria Zakharova said today all countries are sovereign and independent and have the right to pursue their own policies, internally and externally, and have the right to develop bilateral ties.
"We do not understand why the official in Paris is speaking on the behalf of the African continent. The African continent has its own voice. And it was our country that helped African states get that voice and develop it,” she said.
"African countries and the continent have the right to speak for themselves, with the right to develop relations with those it wants to. They don’t need France's mediation services for this," she stressed.
She added that for too long African countries suffered from "colonizers" on their territories and now are enjoying their freedom, allowing them to make sovereign decisions.
Commenting on Ken McCallum, director-general of the UK domestic spy agency MI5, alleging that 400 of 600 Russian diplomats expelled from Europe were "spies," Zakharova urged journalists to ask the British side, including the country's embassy in Moscow, how many British intelligence officers, spies, and recruited agents work in Russia.
"How many people, associated with the British intelligence, representatives of the British intelligence, recruited by British intelligence, are paid by British intelligence, work on the territory of the Russian Federation," she said.
"Before speaking about others, tell about yourself," Zakharova stressed.