President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President,
I am glad to meet with you again, and first I would like to thank you for making the decision to come to St Petersburg for the Russia–Africa summit.
I will not mention again our general ties with Africa, but I would like to note that Libya is also our long-term partner in North Africa. We have many years of experience of efficient joint work, and I believe we still have immense potential for interaction. Our trade and economic cooperation is advancing quite well overall. Our mutual trade grew by 67.5 percent last year, which is obviously a good indicator, and nearly doubled again between January and April this year.
Priority sectors include industrial and transport infrastructure as well as the energy sector. Russia and Libya cooperate within various multilateral organisations and formats, including OPEC Plus and the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, which promotes stability in global energy markets.
Naturally, the agenda includes achieving a sustainable normalisation in Libya; we are well aware of this. Russia will further promote progress on key tracks of the settlement based on efforts to ensure unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Libyan state.
I heard what you said today on the withdrawal of all armed troops of third countries, and you know our stance on this. Now let us talk about this in greater detail.
President of the Presidential Council of Libya Mohamed Yunus al-Menfi (retranslated): Thank you, Mr President.
I am glad to be able to attend this summit in Russia, in this wonderful city. I really insisted that I should come here together with other African leaders to affirm the strategic nature of relations with Russia for Libya and the African continent as a whole.
Our relations have a long history, and I would like to emphasise that we are resolved to continue them. This meets the interests of our countries. That is why I needed to come here; I am keen on stimulating our relations in all spheres.
Thank you for your hospitality and warm welcome.
I would like to discuss a great number of bilateral cooperation projects. As you know, our countries have a large contractual framework. Various bilateral committees are operating under these agreements; the last time they held their events was in 2008. In particular, I would like to mention the performance of the committee on energy and finance. We have the necessary structures to promote our cooperation in this sphere. Our parliaments are poised for interaction, and all government structures are set to implement the agreements we previously agreed upon.
First of all, we would like to focus on the issue of energy and to resume cooperation under existing projects. They have to do with infrastructure and railways.
There are several technical matters we need to address. I believe that our committees are in a position to do that. I am ready to send the signal to encourage them to step up this work. We are determined to formalise Russia’s role in the implementation of these economic projects that are of key significance for our country. I think we could also consider oil projects. We can establish a relevant working group.
Another issue on the agenda concerns the withdrawal of mercenaries from Libya. It is a matter of principle to us, to the Presidential Council. International recognition is very important for our organisation, the Presidential Council. We enjoy broad support in the country from all social groups, including the east, Tobruk and Tripoli. We have supporters throughout the country, which is why you can rely on us as an organisation that represents all Libyans. We are really concerned about stabilisation in Libya, and we are taking the interests of all sides into account.
There can be no doubt that we intend to implement all the agreements on Libya, including with respect to elections. We are also interested in developing cooperation with our foreign partners. We have a clear vision and a clear plan for our movement forward. We are also focused on cooperation within the framework of the African Union; we have a roadmap for that. We intend to implement all these plans in the immediate future.
Our delegations at the UN are closely coordinating their work. We are keen to enhance the profile of this coordination. We hope that these issues will remain on our agenda, which will continue to be constructive.
We know that many Russian companies previously worked in the Libyan oil and gas sector. We would also like to discuss railway projects, which were on the agenda before.
This is all I wanted to say for now.