Russia says it hopes African governments and businesses can take advantage of the ongoing Sochi summit with a “solid package of proposals” on expanding ties with the continent. The Russia-Africa summit is an aftermath of Moscow’s spirited diplomatic, economic and military efforts to deepen ties with Africa.
Dozens of African leaders attended the top-level meeting, co-chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The renewed interest to focus on Africa is coming on the backdrop of the effects of US and EU sanctions.
“We expect that our African colleagues, representatives of the business community will come to Sochi with a solid package of proposals aimed at enhancing bilateral relations,” Putin said in an interview with the state news agency TASS. “We will consider these initiatives with great interest and decide what could be launched right away and what will require further elaboration.” Putin said Russia has a lot to offer “our African friends” but noted that details of the offers would be discussed at the summit. He said the summit was to build a fair partnership relations based on equality and mutual practical interest.
“We intend to discuss relevant ideas with our partners, systematise and reflect them as concretely as possible in the final declaration,” he said. The summit is coming at a time when the geopolitical competition for what analysts called the new scramble for Africa is intense.
Russia's strong man however says Russia has no intent to “participate in a new ‘re-partition’ of the continent’s wealth” but to engage in competition for cooperation in compliance with the law. The Russian leader also expressed confidence that Africans were not interested in the escalation of confrontation between the major powers in the continent.
“On the contrary, they would like the rivalry to give way to cooperation in addressing urgent challenges for Africa, such as terrorism, crime, drug trafficking, uncontrolled migration, poverty, highly infectious diseases. I would like to reiterate that this is the kind of work Russia is willing to participate in.
“Our African agenda is positive and future-oriented. We do not ally with someone against someone else, and we strongly oppose any geopolitical “games” involving Africa,” he said.
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