Russia Continues Strengthening Africa’s Stability, Ensuring Regional Security, Writes Off $20 BILLION of Debt

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TEHRAN (FNA)- Russia will continue its effort toward an international strategic policy for strengthening Africa’s stability and ensuring regional security, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday at the Russia-Africa Summit.

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“As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russia intends to continue actively participating in elaborating a strategic policy of the global community and practical measures for strengthening Africa’s peace and stability and ensuring regional security,” Putin stated at a plenary session, Sputnik reported.

He stressed that Russia favored increasing Africa’s role in resolving local conflicts and believed that “African problems” needed “African solutions”. The Russian leader also praised the deep-rooted cooperation with African nations and regional organizations as a strategic priority.

“Development of the African continent is hindered by terrorism, extremism ideology spreading, transnational criminality and piracy. Many countries face the consequences of the so-called Arab Spring, as a result of which situation in entire North Africa is destabilized. Various terrorist organizations are operating in the region, as well as in the Sahara-Sahel area and near Lake Chad … In this context, we believe it is important to boost joint effort on fighting terrorism and extremism,” Putin added.

Russia plans to boost cooperation with African law enforcement agencies, the president stressed. Putin has suggested holding political consultations between the Russian foreign minister and African nations’ foreign ministers annually between triennial Russia-Africa Summits.

“We could hold annual political consultations of foreign ministers in periods between the summits. I think all of you will support this proposal, and we will continue developing the Russian-African relations exactly in this format,” Putin noted on Thursday at the first plenary session of the inaugural Russia-Africa Summit.

The Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum is taking place in the Russian resort city of Sochi from October 23-24. Russia has also written off more than $20 billion in debt accumulated by African countries during the Soviet era, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Wednesday.

“It was not only an act of generosity, but also a manifestation of pragmatism, because many of the African states were not able to pay interest on these loans,” Putin told TASS on the eve of the summit.

While addressing the Russia-Africa forum in Sochi, he called for trade between Russia and African countries to be doubled in the next four to five years. Putin also said that Russia intends to increase its presence in Africa at state level.

 

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