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Article of the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov “Russia and Sub-Saharan Africa: time-proven relations” published in “Russian View” magazine (May of 2014)

Today African States play an increasingly active role in the world politics and economy and directly participate in decision-making on key issues of global agenda in the United Nations and other multilateral fora. At the same time, the voice of Africa sounds all the more harmoniously, in particular owing to an increasing role played by the African Union which is an effective multilateral mechanism of cooperation in various fields on the continent.

In many ways, this trend is shaped by the emergence of new polycentric world order which should be based on the principles of international law, respect for identity of peoples and their right to determine their future themselves. Within the framework of such approaches, Russia supports the strengthening of Africa's positions in the emerging international system that corresponds to realities of the 21st century.

Our country supported liberation of the countries of the continent from colonial rule and provided practical assistance in establishing their statehood. It is in those times that prerequisites were created for developing Russian-African relations based on friendship, trust, mutual respect and taking account of each other's interests. During the previous decades we managed to achieve important results in various fields. In Africa Russia pursues a pragmatic policy aimed at enhancing multidimensional ties with the countries of the continent on the bilateral and multilateral basis.

Political dialogue, including on the highest level, is being dynamically developed. The visit paid in March 2013 by President Vladimir Putin to the Republic of South Africa where he also took part in the BRICS summit became a landmark event. As a result of negotiations, a package of bilateral documents was signed, including the Joint Declaration on the establishment of a comprehensive strategic partnership between Russia and the Republic of South Africa. During the Africa-Russia Forum held on the sidelines of the P5 meeting Vladimir Putin presented proposals to develop political and economic interaction in such formats as BRICS - the African Union, BRICS - NEPAD, BRICS - subregional African organizations.

Cooperation between foreign policy departments of Russia and African countries has reached a high level. Only this year fruitful talks were held with my colleagues from Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Eritrea and Uganda.

Russia is interested in developing links with the African Union, subregional integration associations, including the Southern African Development Community, the Economic Community of West African States, and the Economic Community of Central African States. During the visit paid by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr. Dlamini Zuma to Moscow in 2013, ways of enhancing interaction between Russia and the African Union in various fields were outlined. The draft memorandum on the mechanism of holding regular political consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia and the AUC is under consideration and planned to be signed this year already.

We attach special significance to deepening trade and investment cooperation with African States, including by involving Russian economic operators in the implementation of infrastructure projects. It is encouraging that more Russian companies being aware of the prospects that are opening in the large market of the continent work actively in such fields as nuclear energy, hydrocarbon and metallurgy industries.

At the same time, it is evident that the significant potential of our economic cooperation is far from being exhausted and much remains to be done so that Russian and African partners know more about the capacities and needs of each other. Creation of a mechanism of the provision of public support to business interaction between Russian companies and African continent is on the agenda. The economic forum "Urals–Africa" held in Yekaterinburg in July 2013 and attended by delegations from about 40 African States confirmed that we have broad opportunities for enhancing cooperation.

An active interaction with Africans in the field of crisis management continues, since Africa, regretfully, remains one of the regions of the world with the highest potential for conflicts. Russia calls for prompt and appropriate response by the international community to challenges and threats which are faced by the continent and go beyond it, including uncontrolled migration, spread of crime, narcotic drugs and infectious diseases. These efforts are underpinned by the coordinating role of the UN, its close interaction with African structures and certain States.

In this regard, we believe that actions by the Africans themselves aimed at finding solutions in such turbulent zones as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and the Sahelo-Saharan strip as a whole, the Central African Republic, Somali and South Sudan, become increasingly important in order to achieve sustainable peace. Other urgent tasks include combating illegal armed groups, promotion of good-neighborliness, development of cooperation with a view to ensuring border security, and suppressing mass violations of international humanitarian law. In this connection, we are satisfied by the fact that in recent years efforts undertaken by the Africans in these areas become increasingly intensive and consistent.

As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, Russia contributes significantly to maintaining peace in Africa. Russian observers take part practically in all UN peacekeeping operations on the continent. Our country plays one of the leading roles among the providers of goods and services for UN peacekeeping activities in Africa, first of all in the field of civil aviation. We pay much attention to training of police and military personnel from African States in relevant Russian institutions, including internships provided by short-term advanced-training courses in educational institutions of the Ministry of the Interior of Russia.

Our country makes significant practical steps to assist sustainable development of African States. Russia provides to African countries broad preferences in trade, and contributes to alleviating their debt burden – the total amount of debt relief exceeds 20 billion USD. Debt-for-development agreements for a total amount of 552 million USD were concluded with certain States.

Training of highly qualified specialists for various sectors of economy, as well as healthcare, is another track of our efforts. Currently, more than 6,500 Africans study in Russian higher educational institutions and nearly half of them – at the expense of federal budget funds. More than 960 Russian government grants are annually provided to countries of the region. Russia takes an active part in establishing the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and joined the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

Last year the World Food Programme used funds provided by the Russian Federation as a voluntary contribution to render urgent food assistance to Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. We offer humanitarian assistance to the countries of the continent for the purposes of disaster management.

On April 20, 2014, President Vladimir Putin approved a new Concept of state policy of the Russian Federation in the field of assisting international development which should become an efficient instrument of increasing our participation in providing development assistance to Africa, primarily on the bilateral basis.

I am confident that time-proven Russian-African partnership will further deepen and expand for the benefit of our countries and peoples. All the necessary prerequisites exist for that, among which the most important is the mutual commitment of our countries to work purposefully and consistently in the interests of intensive development of multidimensional cooperation.


27.09.2018 - Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the UN Security Council meeting, September 26, 2018

Mr President, Colleagues, In the modern world, an efficient fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is becoming increasingly important for global and regional stability and the reliable security of all states without exception. Constructive cooperation in this area is an important component of the efforts to shape a positive international agenda. I think everybody agrees that the UN Security Council resolutions that outline specific measures against violations of non-proliferation must be strictly observed. Resolution 1540 remains the basis for this and contains obligations for the member states to take specific measures to prevent non-government agents from accessing weapons of mass destruction and their components. The UNSC decisions taken in pursuance of this resolution are particularly important as they include sanctions for handing over any types of weapons to terrorists. There have been incidents of such handovers and they must be thoroughly investigated.

07.09.2018 - Remarks by Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, following the UNSC meeting on the incident in Salisbury

Q: Do you expect British sanctions on Russia soon? A: We are not expecting or afraid of anything. Taking to the account how things have been developing during the recent years we do not exclude anything. This discussion and yesterday’s speech by the British Prime-Minister in the British Parliament are not coincidental. I think that’s looks like a prelude to a new political season. Q: So, Ambassador it’s really coming from the highest level in the UK. A: It always comes from the highest level. Last time when the incident took place it also came from the highest level. Q: But it seems that you are not taking it seriously. A: We are taking it very seriously. We were saying it all the time. Why we’ve been asking for cooperation with the UK from day one. Only few minutes ago Ambassador Pierce was referring to an ultimatum that Boris Johnson made in his letter to the Russian Ambassador in London when the incident took place presented as a request by the British site to cooperate while in fact it was a demand to to accept the gilt. At the same time our requests which we sent to British authorities constantly through OPCW and bilaterally were ignored.

06.09.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at Bolshaya Igra (Great Game) talk show on Channel One, Moscow, September 4, 2018

Question: Today we have a special guest in our studio, one of the main participants in the “great game”, someone the future of the world really depends on in many ways: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. We are happy to welcome you in the Great Game studio. Sergey Lavrov: Thanks for inviting me.

22.08.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's comment on UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's anti-Russian claims

At a joint news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of Serbia Ivica Dacic Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov commented on UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's urges to European partners to slap their own sanctions on Russia in connection with the Salisbury incident.

16.08.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's interview for "Salisbury Journal"

The Russian Ambassador said he stands together with the people of Salisbury in a meeting with the Journal last week, as the United States announced new sanctions against the country. Speaking at his official residence in Kensington Palace Gardens on Thursday, Alexander Yakovenko said: “We are together with the people of Salisbury.”

24.06.2018 - Greeting by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for the Znaniye school Family Day (Ealing, 24 June 2018)

Dear friends and guests, I am delighted to welcome you at a Family Day celebrating Russia and the World Cup. Today, Russia is the place to be for the whole world. It is a great pleasure to hear fans from all continents appreciating Russia’s hospitality, friendliness and openness to everyone. Right now, people from virtually every country see the 11 host cities, from the Baltic Sea to the Urals on the border of Europe and Asia, and realize how diverse and beautiful our country is. We’d like to bring a bit of Russia and the excitement of the World Cup to Ealing, for those who couldn’t make it to the tournament. By the way, so far both our teams are doing very well, and let us hope they keep up this good work. We cheer for both Russia and England but I’m afraid this can change if both teams meet at the semi-finals.

20.06.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions at the Primakov Readings international forum, Moscow, May 30, 2018

Mr Dynkin, Colleagues and friends, Ladies and gentlemen, I am grateful for a new opportunity to speak at the international forum named after Academician Evgeny Primakov, an outstanding Russian statesman, academic and public figure. It is indeed a great honour for me. I consider Mr Primakov, with whom I worked at the Foreign Ministry in the latter half of the 1990s, my senior comrade and teacher, as probably do the majority of those who crossed paths with him at one point. Holding this representative conference under the aegis of one of Russia’s leading academic institutes – National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) that also bears Primakov’s name – has become a good tradition. The Primakov Readings have earned a reputation as a venue for serious dialogue of authoritative specialists on the most pressing issues of international politics and the global economy. Today, there is no lack of buzzwords used by politicians, experts and scientists to capture the current moment in international relations. They talk about the crisis of the “liberal world order” and the advent of the post-Western era, “hot peace” and the “new cold war”. The abundance of terms itself shows that there is probably no common understanding of what is happening. It also points to the fairly dynamic and contradictory state of the system of international relations that is hard to characterise, at least at the present stage, with one resounding phrase. The authors of the overarching theme of the current Primakov Readings probably handled the challenge better than others. In its title “Risks of an unstable world order’ they provocatively, and unacademically, combine the words “unstable” and “order”.

21.04.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's talking points at the Press Conference, 20 April 2018

Since we met last time a lot of events took place: - Military strikes of the United States, UK and France against Syria in violation of the international law - Mission by OPCW inspectors to Douma - Speech of Prime Minister May in Parliament in support of the British aggression against Syria - Special meeting of the OPCW Executive Council (18 April 2018) - New developments in the classified case of Salisbury poisoning of Skripal family - No meaningful developments on the Glushkov case - and Cyber security threats I plan to comment all these issues. And I will be happy to answer all our questions, if you have any.

17.03.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's interview for "Mail on Sunday" (full text)

Q: Bearing in mind that the US, France and Germany have said they agree with Britain that all the evidence suggests the attacks in Salisbury were the responsibility of the Russian state, what credibility can be placed on the denials issued by the Russian Government? A:We don't know if UK presented any evidence to US, France and Germany - highly likely none - but if they did, why not present it through the channels outlined in the Chemical Weapons Convention? Universal legal principle is presumption of innocence, and the burden of proof lies with the British Government. Its record includes the Iraq WMD dossier - you will remember that at some point doubting US and UK claims was considered a wild conspiracy theory. It is not any more.

26.01.2018 - Main foreign policy outcomes of 2017

In 2017, Russian diplomacy addressed multidimensional tasks to ensure national security and create a favourable external environment for our country's progressive development. Russia maintained an independent foreign policy, promoted a unifying agenda, and proposed constructive solutions to international problems and conflicts. It developed mutually beneficial relations with all interested states, and played an active role in the work of the UN, multilateral organisations and forums, including the G20, BRICS, the SCO, the OSCE, and the CSTO. Among other things, Russian policy has sought to prevent the destabilisation of international relations, and this responsible policy has met with broad understanding in the international community.

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