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Wednesday, 03 June 2009 00:42

Russian Authorities Plan To Steadily Build Partnership With Africa

By Kester Kenn Klomegah

MOSCOW, May 28 (Buziness Africa) – Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, has told an African group of ambassadors at an official reception that Russia’s cooperation with the African region is consecutively evolving, and that Russian authorities planned to steadily build broadbased partnership on principles of equality and mutual respect.

He said that mutual disposition to bolster ties in most diverse fields along with the readiness to collaborate in the creation of a new democratic and fair world pattern invariably manifest themselves during contacts at the highest level and his series of meetings with his counterparts – ministers of foreign affairs of African states.

“Over the recent period, I have had such contacts with the ministers of foreign affairs of Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, and Mali. Strengthening the traditionally friendly relations with African states and expanding many-sided cooperation with them remains a priority in Russian foreign policy,” Lavrov stressed at the meeting.

The widening political dialogue with Africa embraces such key issues as ensuring global stability, and strengthening international law and the central role of the UN in countering global threats and challenges by collective methods, he added further.

“We always meet with understanding and support to Russian initiatives from African countries, and in our turn reciprocate them and invariably support the fair approaches of Africa toward solution of the burning problems of concern to it,” the minister said.

It is obvious that today as never before the imparting of additional stimuli to the expansion of economic and trade ties acquires special significance, Lavrov said and informed assertively that the volume of trade over the past year grew noticeably to over 8.2 billion dollars.

But he also pointed out that the present global financial and economic crisis should not have too adverse an impact upon collaboration and efforts to minimize the consequences of the crisis should be taken together.

Lavrov said: “I think that the plans that have been drawn up by large Russian companies for implementing mutually advantageous projects on the continent will help to do it.We intend to continue to actively participate in coordinated actions to provide comprehensive support for Africa’s countries, particularly under the auspices of the UN and its specialized agencies, in the G8 framework and on a bilateral basis.”

The minister has evaluated highly the consistent line on deepening political and economic integration in the framework of the African Union and different sub-regional associations, which is an important prerequisite for Africa’s taking the path of sustainable development and the creation of conditions enabling the Africans themselves with support from the world community to settle the lingering conflicts and crises on their continent.

“For our part we stand ready for the further expansion of cooperation in the most diverse fields, including the security sphere and crisis settlement. We have substantially – to 400 persons annually – increased the number of African peacekeepers training in Russia. We take part in all UN peacekeeping operations in the region,” Lavrov told the African gathering.

Overall, the training of personnel both for law enforcement and peacekeeping agencies in Africa and for civilian sectors is an important sphere of our cooperation. Annually about 750 state scholarships are allocated to the continent’s countries for training in Russian tertiary education institutions in the most diverse specialties, and it is planned to increase this number in the subsequent years.

Lavrov finally concluded: “I am convinced that Russian-African relations will continue to be steadily developed. A guarantee of success is our common history, the decades of cooperation in the economy and in international affairs and in the humanitarian sphere, as well as the initiatives which are especially required at this stage, the search for contemporary mechanisms of interaction, and the streamlining of the juridical base with a view to bringing it into a state adequate to the demands of our time.” (END/2009)

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