Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s speech at a reception for Africa Day, Moscow, May 31, 2017
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to extend my heartfelt greetings to all those present on Africa Day.
President Vladimir Putin sent his traditional message of greetings to the heads of African states and governments in which he praised the successes of African countries in diverse spheres, as well as Africa’s growing role in forming a fair and democratic multipolar international order. We confirm our readiness to further expand our wide-ranging cooperation.
Russia’s consistently friendly, partner relations with African states, based on the principles of equality and mutual respect, have stood the test of time and continue developing. Yesterday and today’s talks with the delegations of Nigerian and Zambian friends that are present here and are headed by Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama and Zambian Foreign Minister Harry Kalaba reaffirmed their shared determination to deepen and diversify partnership and search for new, promising areas of cooperation.
We are developing high-level and top-level political dialogue, promoting our inter-parliamentary ties and expanding cooperation between foreign ministries. This year alone Moscow played host to the foreign ministers of Burkina Faso, Zambia, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Eritrea. Following the talks the sides confirmed that their positions align on most international issues and ways of addressing security challenges and threats.
Russia is interested in developing cooperation with the African Union and other African associations. We value our regular political consultations with their leaders.
We are in favour of deepening the BRICS-Africa dialogue that was launched in Durban in 2013.
Socioeconomic progress is inseparable from our ability to ensure peace and security. We support the efforts of Africans to prevent and settle conflicts, including building up their own peacekeeping capacity. We are ready to broaden our cooperation in fighting international terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking and piracy.
We support the principle that African problems require African solutions. We are convinced that African countries know better than anyone else how to overcome difficulties on the path to peace, stability and sustainable development. The world community is called upon to help Africans and support these aspirations.
There are good opportunities for promoting trade and economic ties. We support the interest in expanding Russian business activity in Africa and the implementation of regional projects on mineral resources, energy infrastructure and agriculture.
We will continue carrying out debt-for-development programmes and using most favoured nation status in trade.
We will continue rendering humanitarian aid to African states, including as part of the UN and the G20, to African countries that have fallen victim to conflicts, natural and man-made disasters and pandemics.
The number of Africans studying in Russian universities is growing every year. There are about 15,000 students in Russia now.
The start of dialogue between the African Union Commission and the Commission of the Eurasian Economic Union is a new undertaking. We have an extensive and ambitious agenda.
Today, on Africa Day, I would like to wish you new achievements on this road. Congratulations to you once again. I wish you all the best.