Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is visiting West Africa

12:20 04.06.2024 •

Photo: Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Embarking on his sixth tour of the African continent in the past two years, Russian Foreign Minister arrived at a working visit to Guinea’s capital Conakry on Monday, where he is scheduled to meet with the country's leadership, writes Sputnik Africa.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that he discussed economic and military-technical cooperation with the leadership of Guinea.

At a joint press conference with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guinea, Morissanda Kouyate, Lavrov said that he discussed economic cooperation, the work of Russian companies in Guinea, as well as interaction in the field of healthcare with his African counterpart and president of the country, Mamady Doumbouya.

“We have not forgotten about military-technical cooperation and strengthening Guinea’s defense capabilities, especially taking into account the growing terrorist threat,” added the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

According to him, the parties also discussed interaction on international platforms, in particular the UN.

In turn, both Kouyate and Doumbouya assured Lavrov that Guinea “remains friendly to Russia” and that the African leader “conveyed warm greetings to Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

The countries also raised the issue of economic interaction. The Russian top diplomat said that his country is counting on the speedy resumption of the work of the intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation with Guinea.

“I would just like to emphasize that we very much count on resuming as soon as possible the work of the intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation, which has not met since 2019,” Lavrov said.

The Russian minister emphasized that a co-chairman of the commission had recently been appointed on the Guinean side, and there were no obstacles left to resuming work.

Moreover, Lavrov invited his Guinean counterpart to the ministerial conference of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum, scheduled to be held in November in the Russian resort of Sochi.

According to the ministry's statement, the forum "is intended to sum up the interim results and give additional impetus to the work on implementing the agreements reached at the second Russian-African summit in July 2023 in St. Petersburg."

Located in West Africa, Guinea remains among the UN's least developed countries despite its rich natural resources. Partnership in the field of their development still remains one of the main areas of bilateral cooperation.

Furthermore, the African foreign minister stressed that his country, after the change of power, remains committed to the obligations it assumed in bilateral relations with Russia and “adapts the continuation of agreements” with Russia so that they correspond to the new realities.

In September 2021, a military coup took place in Guinea, as a result of which Doumbouya announced the dissolution of the government and the abolition of the constitution.

The military detained President Alpha Conde and announced the introduction of a transitional charter, and Doumbouya was sworn in as transitional president. Elections are expected in 2024, which should restore a civilian form of government.

Moscow’s first reaction to the coup was to demand the release of Conde, but later the Russian authorities announced their intention to work with the established leadership.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks during talks with Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation, African Integration and Guineans abroad of the Republic of Guinea, Morrisanda Kouyate, Conakry, June 3, 2024:

“Dear friend,

You mentioned the origins of our friendly relations and support for justice in the international arena. Indeed, we recognised Guinea almost instantly after the people were freed from colonial oppression. Your country was at the forefront of the decolonisation process and among the first to break free from oppression. We appreciate the fact that Guinea participated in both Russia-Africa summits, and you led your delegation to St Petersburg during the summit held in 2023.

I hope I will have the opportunity today to convey to President of the Republic of Guinea Mamady Doumbouya President Vladimir Putin’s gratitude for the warm congratulatory message that your leader sent to our President on the occasion of his re-election.

Our respective parliaments enjoy good and close contacts. The Chairman of the National Council of the Transition, Dansa Kourouma, took part in a meeting of Russia-Africa parliamentarians in Moscow in March 2023.

A little later we will discuss our cooperation in the international arena, including the UN. You are absolutely right that growth in the modern era rides on economic and investment ties. Our companies operating in Guinea benefit from the beneficial conditions provided by your government. We believe that this mutually beneficial cooperation will continue.

We have decent mutual trade numbers, although there was a decline in 2023. However, we see good prospects in geological prospecting, the development of mineral resources, infrastructure, fisheries, agriculture and energy. Our companies invariably focus on the social aspects of their work and remain socially responsible.

For example, Rusal has made the largest Russian investment in Guinea. Along with epoxide mining and providing employment to thousands of Guinean citizens, Rusal is implementing a major social programme. As recently as 10 years ago, in 2014, Rusal made a significant contribution to improving Guinea's ability to fight Ebola. In the recent past, when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, similar steps were taken to build your own capabilities to prevent infectious diseases.

Our other companies are also operational in your country. We can discuss this in more detail later. I would just like to emphasise that we look forward to resuming as soon as possible the work of the Russian-Guinean Intergovernmental Commission on Economic, Scientific, Technical and Trade Cooperation, which has not met since 2019.

You have recently appointed your co-chair. There are no obstacles left. We need to agree on the dates. I hope to discuss all of that in detail with you, as well as to review our relations, and coordination of our actions in the international arena, primarily in the UN, in relations between Russia and Africa. I hope we will be able to report the results of our talks to President Doumbouya today and obtain his approval.”

Sergei Lavrov arrived in the Republic of Congo welcomed by Congolese Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Claude Gakosso.
Photo: MFA

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has arrived in the Republic of Congo, where he will hold negotiations with the leadership of this country, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on her Telegram channel, TASS informs.

"Sergey Lavrov has arrived in the Republic of Congo. Negotiations with the leadership of this country will take place tomorrow in the city of Oyo," she wrote.

This year marks the 60th anniversary since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and the Republic of Congo.

On July 29, 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the head of the republic, Denis Sassou Nguesso, as part of the Russia-Africa summit. The Russian leader noted that "leading Russian companies, including Lukoil, Yandex, and Rosatom, are working effectively in Congo."

It can be expected that in Oyo Lavrov and his counterparts from the republic’s leadership will focus on further promotion of trade and economic ties. According to data provided by Putin at the negotiations in July 2023, trade turnover between Russia and the Republic of Congo soared by 85% in January-April 2023.

It is highly likely that promising projects in the energy sector will be discussed. The Republic of Congo is engaged in oil production, and proven reserves of crude oil are estimated at 1.6 billion barrels (38th place in the world). At the beginning of 2024, Congo for the first time announced plans to start exporting liquefied natural gas, producing the first batch at the Marine 12 project of the Italian Eni and Lukoil. The reserves of natural and associated gas in the country were estimated at 90.6 million cubic meters.

Military-technical cooperation will certainly be among the topics of negotiations between the head of Russian diplomacy in the Congo. In 2019, a contract was signed to send Russian military specialists to this African state. Also, at that time, negotiations were held on the supply of new Russian military equipment to the Republic of Congo.

Currently, as noted at the Russian Embassy in Brazzaville, an important area of bilateral relations is also humanitarian cooperation, "interaction in the training of Congolese personnel in Russian universities is intensively developing." In the 2023-2024 academic year, the number of government scholarships for the Republic of Congo was increased to 250. The Russian Center for Science and Culture operates in Brazzaville.


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