WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the US will not dictate Africa's choices.
He's in South Africa as part of a three-nation tour of the continent.
Blinken's remarks come at a time of heightened tensions between the US and Russia over the war in Ukraine.
South Africa has maintained neutrality on the invasion, refusing to publicly criticise Russia.
"Too often, African nations have been treated as instruments of other nations’ progress rather than the authors of their own. They’ve been told to pick a side in great power contest that are far removed from the daily struggles of their people."
"The US will not dictate Africa’s choice neither should anyone… the right to make these choices belong to Africans," he said.
"The US and the world will look to African nations to defend the rules of the international system. We believe all nations should stand up for the rights of their country not to have its border by gotten by force.
"If we will allow that principle to be violated anywhere, we weaken it everywhere...openness means creating platform for the free flow of ideas, info, investment...The US is partnering with African government to build and adapt infrastructure that enables that connectivity."