Leonid Eduardovich , Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs, noted that the meeting of the Chairman of the State Duma with the heads of diplomatic missions of the African continent is the first one in the modern Russian history. The parliamentarian called the event ”historic“. Speaking about the upcoming conference ”Russia — Africa“, he expressed the hope that it will become regular and will be constantly held in Moscow. The conference should be held next year, the dates will be determined soon, it has been prepared for more than a month already. Earlier, Viacheslav Volodin Volodin
Vyacheslav Victorovich The Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation of the eighth convocation. Elected in single mandate constituency № 163 (Saratov constituency - Saratov Oblast) said that the Inter-Parliamentary Conference “Russia-Africa” will be held in 2019.
“I believe that such conferences will help us seriously bring together our positions and views, bring our countries, peoples, and parliaments closer together,” Leonid Slutskiy stressed.
”This conference will be the starting point of a new round of cooperation between the State Duma and the parliaments of African countries, as well as the Pan-African Parliament,“ the member of the State Duma concluded.
Africa is the new center of global development
Deputy Chairwoman of the State Duma Olga Timofeeva
Olga Victorovna stressed that the mutual interest of Africa and Russia is growing. “In recent years, with its demographic and economic potential, Africa has become a new world center for global development. Russia has great potential, and there are still a lot of connections that we can tune up with you,” said the parliamentarian.
Olga Timofeeva reminded that at the International Forum on the Development of Parliamentarism, held in June, the Russia-Africa platform was the most representative, and the range of problems discussed was the widest: human rights issues, development of parliamentarism, ensuring equal representation of all ethnic groups in power and others.
She also said that there are seven “friendship groups” with African countries in the State Duma, and “we are ready to work within new formats of interaction”. The parliamentarian expressed her hope that this meeting ‘will become the basis of our long-term cooperation.’
Russia regards Africa as an important ally in the protection of international law
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov thanked the State Duma and personally Viacheslav Volodin on behalf of the Foreign Ministry for organizing this meeting.
“Russia regards Africa as an important and active participant in the emerging polycentric architecture of the world order and an ally in protecting international law against attempts to undermine it,” said Mikhail Bogdanov. He reminded that the relations of the Russian Federation and Africa have a long history and are lined up on the principles of equality and mutual respect. In recent years, communications have intensified and are developing in various directions. “Invariably, and not playing with words, but in practice, we support the principle formulated by the African countries “African solutions to African problems,” said the Deputy Minister.
“Russia supported us when we faced the betrayal of our partners”
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Rwanda to the Russian Federation Jeanne d'Arc Mujawamariya thanked Viacheslav Volodin for inviting her and her colleagues to the State Duma.
“I want us to use this platform to exchange views on common problems, common issues for the African continent and the Russian Federation,” she said.
Jeanne d'Arc Mujawamariya emphasized that ”Russia never participated in the colonization of Africa and always supported us when we faced the betrayal of our partners.“
The diplomat also said: ”We hope that the Chairman of the State Duma will outline the priorities of our cooperation and offer a comprehensive program, proposals for cooperation between the Pan-African Union and the State Duma, which will allow our parliaments to work effectively as legislative bodies.“
Ambassador of Algeria to the Russian Federation Smail Allaoua said: “We are proud of our relations with Russia. Russia managed to develop very good relations with each country of the African continent. ”
He also noted the importance of developing the inter-parliamentary contacts. “Parliamentarians are an integral part of diplomacy,” said Smail Allaoua.
The Ambassador of Algeria also added that his country was ready to actively participate in the preparation of the forthcoming Inter-Parliamentary Conference and, in general, in strengthening and expanding relations with Russia.
The representative of the Gambia, on behalf of her country and all countries of the African continent, invited President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin to visit Africa.
Viacheslav Volodin said that he would mention about the invitation to Vladimir Putin, and also noted: “We are going to provide support through the parliamentary dimension for the development of inter-parliamentary contacts in terms of the preparation of the Russia-Africa Summit. It is planned that the heads of states will take part in the Conference. “It was initiated by our President,” the Chairman of the State Duma emphasized.
Enhanced cooperation between Russia and African countries
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Rwanda to the Russian Federation Jeanne d'Arc Mujawamariya enquired about the prospects for the development of cooperation between Russia and the countries of the African Union, in particular, in the economic sphere.
“When we will more effectively build our relations in the parliamentary framework, it will certainly help to create an incentive for Russian businesses,” the Chairman of the State Duma said.
He added that business representatives “need support, they need confidence, and this confidence on the part of the parliament will be provided.”
“You were right when you said that Russia has a distinctive feature in comparison with other countries: Russia has always spread to the people of the African continent good things, solutions of the problems, but has never been engaged in colonization, never imposed its agenda,” Viacheslav Volodin said, referring to the ambassador.
The Chairman of the State Duma proposed to hold such meetings with the heads of diplomatic missions of African countries every year and called to discuss specific joint issues next time.
“We propose to move from intentions to concrete steps,” the Chairman of the State Duma said. “We and our peoples will better understand each other through parliamentary relations.”
During the meeting, the issue of greater representation of Russian media in Africa was raised, and the ambassadors responded with applause.
The presence of Russian media on the African continent
Viacheslav Volodin noted that “it is necessary to take certain steps together for the Russian media to work on the African continent.”
“You know that the Russian media provide broadcasting in various languages, they work in many countries, although it is certainly impossible to compare this presence with presence of the media of the United States, United Kingdom and Germany, but anyone who wants to find information through the Russian media, has such an opportunity”, the Chairman of the State Duma said.
“It is important that our position should reach the inhabitants of your countries and that they can compare it with another point of view,” he noted.
“I want to invite you to get acquainted with the work of the State Duma through the website of the State Duma, providing translation into several languages today; an English version has been launched. The website is the second most viewed among the websites of state authorities,” Viacheslav Volodin said. He added that representatives of the professional community, those who are interested in Russia, the decisions taken by the State Duma, will be able to get acquainted with all these things at the English version of the State Duma website.
“I want to emphasize that the principles, on which the international policy of the Russian Federation is based, are not only well known to you, you agree with it. Because there is a certain history of our relations, a historical path, and today we can say that we have a future, we should endeavor to develop these relations,” Viacheslav Volodin said, concluding the meeting.