Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s welcome address at a reception in honour of the foreign ministers of the states participating in the Russia-Africa Economic Forum, Sochi, October 23, 2019
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, friends,
I’m pleased to welcome you to a meeting of foreign ministers of the first ever Russia-Africa summit.
This summit is a historic event. Your first impressions that you have shared with the Russian hosts are a telltale sign that it will certainly be a success. In this regard, I want to express my special thanks to Foreign Minister of Egypt Sameh Shoukry, the Arab Republic of Egypt and its President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for their close cooperation in the preparations for this event under the auspices of the President of Russia as the host country and the President of Egypt as the country that is now presiding over the African Union (AU).
The agenda is busy and provides for the approval of a number of documents which will determine the long-term strategic guidelines for cooperation between Russia and African countries, including the AU and all subregional organisations on that continent.
As we speak, President Putin is holding a meeting with the leaders of subregional African organisations. This will also help consolidate our efforts to promote mutually beneficial ties across all areas without exception, including political, economic, investment, military-technical, cultural and educational areas.
I want to emphasise that our focus on Africa is not fleeting. Today, many interlocutors of the Russian President pointed out how well they remember and appreciate the Soviet contribution to the decolonisation of the continent, ensuring the independence and state autonomy of African countries, thus making a sizable contribution to creating modern economies in many African countries.
Today, we are consistently upholding the role of Africa as an integral centre of the emerging multipolar world, and the importance of having this role reflected in the organisations engaged in global governance. I would like to point out something we have said more than once: we consider it absolutely indispensable to take into account Africa’s interests in any reforms of the international system, including the reform of the UN Security Council, which is now being discussed in New York.