Participants in the talks discussed Russia’s interaction with the African Union, including expanding political dialogue, as well as economic and cultural cooperation with African countries.
* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, Mr Chairperson of the African Union Commission,
I am happy to see you here in Russia. I know that you have an eventful programme of your stay in our country.
To begin the meeting, I would like to note that we remember and pay attention to the landmark events: just a week ago, we celebrated Africa Day. We also marked the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Senegal. Soon, within a few days, you will also mark the creation of the African Union.
In this regard, I would like to note that our country has always been on Africa’s side and has always supported Africa in its fight against colonialism.
I am glad to note that the Russia-Africa summit was held here in Sochi in 2019. We have entered a new stage of development and we place a great emphasis on our relations with African countries. This has had a certain positive result.
Our trade is growing. In the first months of this year it grew by 34 percent. We are striving to develop cultural ties with African countries and will do everything we can to promote this process. Here in Russia people have always been interested in African culture, and it is a big part of our interaction.
Africa’s role on the international stage and in the political area in general is growing. We believe that Africa as a whole and its countries, with which we traditionally share friendly relations, have huge potential, and we are going to continue to develop our relations with Africa in general and with its states.
I am happy to see you. Welcome.
Chairperson of the African Union and President of Senegal Macky Sall (retranslated): Thank you very much, Mr President.
It is a pleasure to see you here, to meet with you in Sochi, this wonderful Black Sea city. I am particularly glad to see you against this international background.
I was grateful for your call, which gave us the chance to talk at the very beginning of the crisis, and I would like to thank you for receiving us here today – I say this not only as the President of Senegal but also as the Chairperson of the African Union. The Chairperson of the African Union Commission accompanies me today.
Indeed, Russia played a tremendous role in the independence of the African continent and this will never be forgotten by the African continent. I am here in the name of this friendship, among other things.
We are pinning great hopes on our cooperation, including bilateral Russian-African cooperation, but we are here today also to talk about the crisis and its consequences.
As you know, a number of countries voted for resolutions at the United Nations. The position of Africa is very heterogeneous but despite heavy pressure, many countries still did not denounce Russia’s position.
It is also possible to look at Asia, the Middle East and Latin America – we see that the world is closely following the developments. I do have great hopes and I have arrived today to say that the countries that are so far away from the hotbed of the conflict are still experiencing its consequences.
Anti-Russia sanctions have made this situation worse and now we do not have access to grain from Russia, primarily to wheat. And, most importantly, we do not have access to fertiliser. The situation was bad and now it has become worse, creating a threat to food security in Africa.
This morning, I spoke with my colleague from the African Union Commission. I told him that there were two major problems – the crisis and the sanctions. We must work together to resolve these problems so that sanctions are lifted on food products, in particular, grain, and fertiliser.