Russia's - African Engagement. A discussion.

Discussion in 'Europe and Russia' started by Singh, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. Singh

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    Medvedev seals strategic pact with Egypt


    CAIRO (AFP) – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a strategic cooperation pact with Egypt on Tuesday, the first day of a four-nation tour aimed at bolstering Moscow's influence in Africa and the Middle East.

    Medvedev signed the 10-year agreement with President Hosni Mubarak, whose country has had historic political and military ties with Moscow and is Russia's largest trading partner in Africa.

    The two leaders said in a joint declaration they were determined to coordinate "foreign policy positions and steps" and stressed the importance of reaching "a fair peace" in the Middle East.

    They also said their two nations were committed to the "building of a new multipolar world order, which will be more democratic, fair and safe for all states," according to a copy of the declaration released by the Kremlin.

    Medvedev described the pact as "very important," telling reporters it would define Egyptian-Russian ties "for years to come."

    Mubarak praised Russia's influence in the Middle East and the world, adding that Cairo and Moscow were keen to boost cooperation in energy, trade and investments.

    Medvedev's trip is the first visit to Africa by a Russian president for three years and comes in the wake of the landmark address to the Muslim world that US President Barack Obama gave in Cairo earlier this month.

    Russia is keen to boost its diplomatic clout in the region, which used to be a stronghold of Soviet influence before the end of the Cold War and the subsequent surge of US dominance.

    After his two-day visit to Egypt, Medvedev will make an ambitious foray into Nigeria, Namibia and Angola from Wednesday to Friday for talks to expand the country's economic footprint in Africa.

    The Israeli-Palestinian conflict was also high on the agenda of talks between Medvedev and Mubarak, and the two leaders reiterated the importance of securing peace in the region through diplomatic efforts.

    Russia has been trying for months to organise a Middle East peace conference in Moscow before the end of the year but has come up against scepticism from the United States and Israel.

    Medvedev reiterated Russia's intention to host the conference in Moscow by year's end.

    In an apparent effort to underscore the significance of Russia's ties with the Arab world, Medvedev was also set to address the Cairo-based Arab League and meet its chief Amr Mussa.

    Mdevedev was also due to have a working dinner with senior members of the Egypt-Russia Association.

    Russia, part of the Middle East diplomatic Quartet along with the European Union, the United Nations and the United States, is eager to strengthen its diplomatic and commercial influence abroad.

    Since 2000, Egypt has benefited from a sharp increase in the number of Russian tourists, reaching 1.8 million last year and outnumbering visitors from western Europe.

    With trade turnover of 4.1 billion dollars last year, Egypt is Russia's largest trading partner in Africa.

    Russia has also expressed interest in a 1.5 billion-1.8 billion-dollar-tender to construct Egypt's first atomic power station that will resume the country's nuclear programme after a 20-year freeze.

    Medvedev was due to visit key sites, including the Giza Pyramids, before leaving for Nigeria on Wednesday.
     
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  3. Singh

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    Russian president talks with Namibia on uranium


    WINDHOEK (AFP) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday called for boosting trade with Namibia, at the start of the first visit by a Kremlin chief to the uranium-rich southern African nation.

    "We should have started work with our African partners a long time ago," Medvedev told reporters after talks with his Namibian counterpart Hifikepunye Pohamba.

    The talks produced few major announcements, but Medvedev used the visit to highlight Russia's desire to reassert Moscow's influence on a continent where many countries were once under the Soviet sphere of influence.

    "Africa is waiting for our support. The civilised part of mankind, as it is accustomed to be called, should pay its debts to Africa," he said.

    "Our policies here will be very friendly and at the same time pragmatic. We also don't have that difficult dark colonial history which many other countries have" in Africa, he said.

    Medvedev said he hoped Soviet ties to Namibia, including support for the country's ruling SWAPO party in its independence struggle, would pay back now.

    "We of course without envy watch our partners come to Africa. But at the same time, we would like to promote our companies," he added.

    Pohamba acknowledged the Soviet assistance during the Cold War and said his nation was also keen to "strengthen our cooperation" and build a "durable economic partnership."

    "We would like to secure access of our products to Russia," he added.

    Medvedev said he had discussed expanding cooperation in energy, including on Namibia's vast uranium deposits.

    Yury Trutnev, Russia's natural resources minister, said Moscow was interested in helping Namibia develop its nuclear industry. "Namibia very much needs to develop its energy sphere," he said.

    Russia has started exploring for uranium in Namibia and hopes that one of the fields will yield between 20,000 and 30,000 tons of uranium, Sergei Kiriyenko, chief of state nuclear corporation Rosatom, said earlier this week.

    Namibia in 2007 awarded an exploration license to a joint venture led by Tekhsnabexport, a Russian state firm that sells uranium.

    Many officials acknowledge that Russian businesses have arrived in Namibia five to 10 years late. "We are late indeed," said Alrosa diamond monopoly chief Sergei Vybornov.

    In Africa, Russia faces competition from Chinese and Western companies.

    The Russian leader is on a four-nation African tour that has energy at the centre of the agenda.

    His stop here placed the spotlight on uranium deposits in Namibia's deserts, and Russian demand could make the country the top producer of the nuclear fuel.

    Streets in the Namibian capital Windhoek were festooned with Russian flags and black and white portraits of Medvedev, who was welcomed by dancers, some in traditional costumes, beads and animal skins.

    A military band and honour guards in white and blue uniforms also greeted Medvedev as he arrived at the state residence for the talks with Pohamba.

    After the talks, Medvedev was set to visit Okapuka park -- famed for its rhinos, giraffes and crocodiles -- and to meet Namibia's independence leader and former head of state Sam Nujoma.

    Medvedev has already visited Egypt and Nigeria, where on Wednesday he announced that Russia was ready to invest billions of dollars in Nigeria's energy sector.

    The two countries signed an agreement with Gazprom, unveiling plans to link vast reserves in Nigeria to Europe via a Trans-Saharan pipeline.

    On Friday he will make his final stop in Angola, where the government once relied heavily on Moscow for support in a civil war that became one of the world's bloodiest Cold War battlefields.

    Angola now rivals Nigeria as Africa's top oil producer, making its post-war economy one of the fastest growing in the world.

    AFP: Russian president talks with Namibia on uranium
     
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    Russia in new scramble for Africa


    RUSSIAN President Dmitry Medvedev began a historic visit to Nigeria yesterday to seal strategic gas and nuclear energy deals with Africa’s energy-rich powerhouse.

    He is on the longest African tour taken by a Kremlin leader to discuss joint energy projects and ultimately boost Russia’s clout on the continent.

    After visiting Nigeria, he will go to Namibia and Angola, which are rich in uranium and diamonds. Russian mining and oil companies have been active in Africa in recent years, but business presence has not been matched by the Kremlin’s recognition of Africa.

    The Times - Russia in new scramble for Africa
     

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