Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answer to a media question at a joint news conference following talks with Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Vincent Biruta, October 7, 2021
Ladies and gentlemen,
We had a good discussion. We talked about the status of our bilateral relations and prospects for their further development. We confirmed our mutual resolve to consistently improve them based on the decisions reached during the meetings between the Russian and Rwandan presidents in Moscow in 2018 and in Sochi in 2019.
We agreed to step up our efforts to increase trade. It is growing but absolute figures are still modest for now. The main point is that we agreed to build up our cooperation on many investment and cooperation projects in energy, civilian nuclear energy, geological prospecting, raw mineral mining, information technology, medicine and agriculture. We will help our businesses to establish and expand contacts.
Our military and military-technical ties are making steady headway. We have long-range plans for further development.
We will also expand humanitarian cooperation. This applies, in part, to the education of Rwandans in civilian professions at Russian universities, as well as the training of military and law-enforcement personnel. Rosatom is preparing 70 people for work at the Nuclear Research and Technology Centre that is now under construction.
We coordinated our efforts on expanding the contractual legal framework of our relations, including the promotion of sports and physical fitness. This interest is mutual.
We discussed in detail the international agenda. Our positions of principle fully coincide. We are committed to international law, and the goals and principles of the UN Charter, including respect for the sovereignty of all states, non-interference in their internal affairs, as well as respect for the right of nations to determine independently models of political and socio-economic development and a recognition of their right to choose their external partners.
Our dialogue on international issues was quite positive. We coordinate our efforts at multilateral venues, including the UN. We are grateful to our Rwandan friends for their traditional support of Russian initiatives at the UN General Assembly. We exchanged views on needed reforms to the UN Security Council. Russia’s position is immutable. We are convinced that any reform should include expanding the representation of the developing African, Asian and Latin American nations in the UN Security Council.
We paid special attention to the efforts to overcome various conflicts and crises in Africa, first of all, in the area of the Great Lakes, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Mozambique, the Sahara-Sahel region, Libya, Somalia and Ethiopia. We have no differences on the comprehensive approach that is needed for overcoming these and other regional crises. We believe it is necessary to involve all conflicting parties in settlement talks and, importantly, give the central role to the Africans themselves. Our approach is well known: African solutions for African problems. We always use this approach and insist on at the UN. The international community should provide moral, political, material and peacekeeping support for African solutions.
We are grateful to our partners for their ideas on the ongoing integration processes in Africa. We welcome Rwanda’s constructive contribution to the work of inter-governmental agencies, primarily, the African Union, the East African Community and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). We reaffirmed Russia’s willingness to continue facilitating regional stability both through bilateral efforts and in the UN Security Council.
We discussed the implementation of the agreements reached two years ago at the first Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi. We reviewed preparations for a second meeting of Russian and African leaders in 2022.
I would like to thank my colleague for this interesting joint work that will be instrumental in the further development of our friendly relations.
Question: Is there an understanding of when and where the second Russia–Africa Summit will take place? What preparations are underway? Do all African countries intend to participate?
Sergey Lavrov: We have discussed the implementation of the agreements reached at the first Russia–Africa Summit held in Sochi in October 2019. Following this summit, the heads of state and government announced the establishment of the Russia–Africa Partnership Forum. The forum secretariat has been formed and is located at the Russian Foreign Ministry. There are coordination, public and scientific councils operating under it. This is important support from civil society for all our initiatives.
The Association of Economic Cooperation with African States has been created. It brings together representatives of major Russian businesses, including companies already carrying out projects on the African continent and those only planning to do so. The association is a useful structure that makes it possible to find real opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation and joint implementation of projects between Russian and African entrepreneurs.
The exact date and venue of the second Russia–Africa Summit are under discussion. Soon there will be a meeting between the foreign ministers of Russia and the troika of the African Union. This issue will have an important place in our dialogue.