Speech of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia S.V. Lavrov at the reception on the occasion of Africa Day, Moscow, 23 May 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I cordially congratulate the audience on the oncoming Africa Day. On 25 May, the day when this event is commemorated, by tradition, President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin will send a message of greetings addressed to his colleagues on the African continent.
Russia considers the anniversary of establishment of the Organisation of African Unity in May 1963, to which the African Union became the successor, also as the symbol of close sincere friendship between the African peoples and our country, which stood firmly for the liberation of the states on the continent from the colonial dependence, for strengthening of their political self-sufficiency and creation of the conditions for socioeconomic development.
The Executive Order of President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin on Measures to Implement the Russian Federation Foreign Policy published on 7 May 2012 confirms the permanence of this line of Russia. The Order among the priorities sets the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other bodies of executive power of Russia the tasks to develop traditionally friendly relations and diversified co-operation with the countries of Africa, to extend contacts with the African Union and subregional organisations.
Nowadays, the states of Africa tackle complex tasks connected with the internal transformations. Many things are done to accelerate the rates of growth, to strengthen the political unity and culture co-operation on the continent. The weight of Africa is increasing in the world affairs. The African countries participate more actively in the settlement of the pressing problems of the modernity, in the search for joint responses to the global challenges and threats. We appreciate the interaction with our African colleagues, which is aimed at ensuring the supremacy of law in the international relations and democratisation of such relations.
We support the extension of the political and economic integration within the African Union, ECOWAS and other subregional organisations. This is an important prerequisite to the paving of the way to the sustainable development and prosperity. Along with this, the socioeconomic progress mainly depends on the preservation of peace and stability. Since our last year meeting many dramatic events took place on the African continent. The peoples of Libya, Tunisia and Egypt are passing through a difficult period. The recently marked aggravation of the crises in a number of African countries, i.e. Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, the relations between the two Sudanese states as well as the situation in the Horn of Africa cannot but cause serious concerns.
It is in the common interests to settle the crisis situations as soon as possible, preventing the conflicts from development, as there is such a threat. The key role in these processes is to be played by the Africans themselves under an active assistance of the international community. We acclaim the efforts of the African Union aimed at formation of the basis for the collective security and creation of their own peacekeeping capacity.
We contribute to the preparation and equipment of the African peace-makers. This year Russia will make a 2 million USD contribution to the AU Peace Fund, which will be used for the peacekeeping needs in Somalia and West Africa.
Our trade and economic relations and investment contacts have high potential. More and more Russian companies understand that Africa is a continent of great possibilities and start or extend their presence in the African states. The principles of equality, mutual benefit and competitive capability underlie the contacts between the business circles. In addition, Russia assists the states of Africa in development not only at the interstate level but also within UN, G8 and other multilateral formats.
Generally, the political dialogue, business co-operation, humanitarian contacts between Russia and the African countries are gaining more and more positive momentum. We are sure that by joint efforts we can strengthen and diversify considerably all the range of the win-win contacts, to start implementing new mutually beneficial projects.
I congratulate everybody on the holiday once again. I wish the audience as well as the peoples of the African countries peace and prosperity and I wish your friends and relatives health, success and well-being.