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25 Jul, 2023 12:06

Russia to deepen ‘non-discriminatory’ cooperation with Africa – Putin

Moscow’s ties with the continent have always been distinguished by stability, trust, and goodwill, the Russian president has said
Russia to deepen ‘non-discriminatory’ cooperation with Africa – Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has hailed the “deep rooted” relations between his country and the African continent, expressing hope that the upcoming summit in St. Petersburg will contribute to further strengthening strategic partnerships.

In a statement on Monday, Putin said ties between Russia and Africa are firm, deeply established, and marked by stability, trust, and goodwill, pledging a free supply of grain and fertilizers to the continent to address food insecurity.

I want to give assurances that our country is capable of replacing Ukrainian grain both on a commercial and free-of-charge basis, especially as we expect another record harvest this year,” he stated.

Last week, the Kremlin announced the suspension of the UN-backed Black Sea Grain Initiative, which had intended to allow both Moscow and Kiev to continue exporting grain amid the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

On Monday, Putin criticized the implementation of the deal, insisting it had “failed to serve its original humanitarian purpose.” Russian officials repeatedly complained that sanctions affecting Moscow’s food and fertilizer exports were not lifted, contrary to the terms of the deal.

He did, however, stress the “importance of uninterrupted food supplies for the socio-economic development and political stability of African states,” and assured that the Kremlin will continue its “energetic efforts” to provide goods to the continent despite the sanctions.

Russia is also committed to fostering a “non-discriminatory agenda for cooperation” with African nations, the president said, highlighting the potential for increased economic partnership in areas including technology, energy, agriculture, and infrastructure development.

According to Putin, Moscow’s trade turnover with African countries increased in 2022 and reached nearly $18 billion, with several companies interested in expanding their operations on the continent.

He said the Kremlin places “great importance” on the second Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum, which is due to take place in St. Petersburg on July 27 and 28. He added that a comprehensive declaration, a number of joint statements, and the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum Action Plan to 2026 will be adopted at the event.

A total of 49 delegations from Africa, according to Moscow, have already confirmed participation in the summit.

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