Hon. Gadzhimurad Zairbekovich Omarov, Member of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation
Hon. Gadzhimurad Zairbekovich Omarov is a Member of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. He is also Deputy Head of the faction “The Just Russia” – a parliamentary political party. As a Russian politician, he was a member of the 3rd convocation of the State Duma (2000-2003), and is now a member of the present, 7th convocation. Mr. Omarov is a member of the European Association of Muslims. Previously, he was the leader of the regional branch of "The Just Russia" in the Republic of Dagestan (2012—2015). He is currently a member of the Central Auditing Commission of “The Just Russia”.
Dear moderator, speakers and participants of the webinar.
I am glad to welcome everyone from Russia. The topic of our meeting seems to me very important. “Opportunity and Hope at a time of Global Crisis: Africa, Continent of the Future”.
First of all, I would like to congratulate the Universal Peace Federation on its 15th anniversary, and also remember the founder of the UPF, Dr. Sun Myung Moon, who would have turned 100 this year, but passed away in 2012. I would like to express support to his wife, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon in continuing the efforts to consolidate peace. I really hope that the countries of Africa, Russia, Korea, and all other countries of the world, amid the pandemic, will come to the conclusion that it is vital to build equal, respectful relationships based on altruism and the principles of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values , which Dr. Moon defended, and today his wife, Dr. Moon strives to strengthen.
Relations between Russia and African countries are traditionally friendly, developing on the principles of equality, mutual respect and consideration of each other's interests. Our country has never participated in colonial conquests in the region, has not been engaged in the plunder of its natural resources. On the contrary, my country invariably opposed various manifestations of racism, provided all-round assistance to the African peoples in their struggle against colonialism, and after gaining independence, helped in the formation and strengthening of statehood, the development of national economies.
Let me quote the words of our President, Vladimir Putin at the Russia-Africa Summit, which took place in October 2019: “Today, African states are confidently moving along the path of socio-economic and scientific and technological development, playing a significant role in international affairs.”
It was the First Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum, which took place in Sochi under the slogan “For Peace, Security and Development”. It opened a new page in the relations of the Russian Federation with the states of the African continent. It was attended by delegations from 54 African countries, 45 of which included heads of state and government. The events of the forum were also attended by the heads of the executive bodies of the African Union, the African Export-Import Bank, the East African Community, the Sahel Five, the Arab Maghreb Union, the Southern African Development Community, the Economic Community of Central African States, the Economic Community of West African Countries, as well as representatives of the Intergovernmental Organization for development and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa. In Sochi, 92 agreements, contracts, and memorandums of understanding were signed.
In the Declaration of the first Russia-Africa Summit, it was decided to hold such Summits every three years. The next summit is planned for 2022 in one of the African states. Its preparation is already underway.
Today the African states are our important international partners in upholding the values of truth and justice on the world arena, strict observance of the norms of international law, respect for the civilizational identity of each people, respect for the path of development they have chosen. Our states are against unilateral sanctions, coercive measures and trade wars. We consistently advocate that the world trade system be fair, and that all countries, without exception, can enjoy the fruits of globalization, and not just a limited group of states.
Relying on many years of accumulated experience of constructive partnership, we are confidently moving along the path of comprehensive expansion of Russian-African ties. The political dialogue has intensified, including at the highest level. Inter-parliamentary ties have intensified as well.
As part of cooperation in the field of medicine, Russia was one of the first to respond to the Ebola epidemic, allocating over $ 60 million to combat it.
This year, when the whole world faced the coronavirus pandemic, more than 30 African countries, as well as the African Union, sent appeals to Russia to assist in the fight against coronavirus. Now our country continues to provide assistance to African countries in the fight against the pandemic. The Russian side promises to continue to provide assistance within the framework of African and global multilateral structures. Now the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is considering the possibility of supplying a new Russian vaccine against coronavirus infection, Sputnik V, to Egypt and other African countries. The need to continue practical cooperation in the fight against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, including through the joint development of vaccines, is noted.
I am glad that contacts between various ministries and departments are progressing between Russia and African countries. Russia, both through bilateral channels and as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, continues to support our African friends in their fight against terrorism, crime and other cross-border threats. We are contributing to efforts to resolve crises and conflicts on the continent on the basis of the African Union (AU) principle “African problems require an African solution”.
At the same time, the international community must support the agreements that Africans are working out, support them morally, politically, financially and materially.
The solid foundation of Russian-African friendship laid by common efforts creates good prerequisites for building up trade, economic and investment exchanges, expanding cooperation in banking, and encouraging business circles to implement mutually beneficial projects on the territory of African states. Certain successes in this direction have already been achieved. Large projects in various fields are being implemented in African countries with direct financial support from Russia.
African countries are attracting more and more attention from Russian business. This is largely due to the fact that Africa is becoming one of the centers of global economic growth. Many Russian companies have been successfully working with partners from various sectors of the African economy for a long time and are determined to increase their presence in Africa. These plans, of course, find full support from the state level.
Russia is one of the ten largest food suppliers to the African markets.
Integration processes developing in Africa present additional opportunities for our cooperation. We welcome the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area within the African Union and are ready to interact with this structure. We support the establishment of close working contacts between the African Union Commission and the Eurasian Economic Commission. Russia, as an active member of the Eurasian Economic Community, will contribute in every possible way to the work on the convergence of trade regimes operating within the African Free Trade Area and the common market of the Eurasian Economic Union.
A traditional area of Russian-African interaction is the training of qualified personnel. By the mid-1980s, our country had built about a hundred educational institutions in Africa, and half a million Africans were trained to work in industrial enterprises and agricultural facilities in African countries. Currently, seventeen thousand African students study in Russia, of which about four thousand study at the expense of the federal budget of the Russian Federation.
On July 8 of this year in the format of a videoconference, the first annual political consultations of the heads of the foreign affairs agencies of Russia and African states, serving as the current, previous and future chairman of the African Union, took place.
In order to coordinate interaction in preparation for the next, second Russia-Africa summit, scheduled for 2022, discussions were made on the issues of establishing effective cooperation between the Secretariat of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum, which was created at the Russian Foreign Ministry, with the foreign ministries of African countries and the secretariats of African regional integration structures. At the same time, the ways and methods of building up industrial cooperation and trade between Russia and African countries bilaterally and using the mechanisms of sub-regional organizations, as well as the possibilities of expanding cooperation in the field of nuclear energy were considered.
In connection with the 60th anniversary of the UN Declaration "On the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples" (dated December 14, 1960), which is celebrated this year, and relying on the history of solidarity relations and joint struggle against colonial oppression, for the freedom and independence of Africa, we emphasize the significance of the principle of equality and self-determination of peoples, which formed the basis of the decolonization process. We confirm the position of categorical rejection of all forms and manifestations of xenophobia, racism, Nazism and neo-colonialism.
Russia intends to continue to interact with African partners based on the principles of equality and mutual respect.
I am glad that such webinars help the development of such cooperation and I am grateful to the Universal Peace Federation for organizing it.
The Russian Federation is ready for the further development of relations between our countries on the principles of equality, mutual respect and consideration of each other's interests.
Thank you for your attention!