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MOSCOW, September 8 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia is making a weighty contribution to international efforts on rendering aid to African countries, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said in an exclusive interview with ITAR-TASS on Wednesday.
“The situation in the Horn of Africa is in the focus of international attention now,” he explained. “This region is living through the strongest over the last 60 years drought which caused the acutest shortage of food and famine in several countries at once. According to the UN information, some 12 million people, including 4.8 million - - in Ethiopia, 3.7 million - - in Somali, 2.9 million - - in Kenya and 164,000 - - in Djibouti, need urgent food aid. “Global and regional humanitarian support is rapidly consolidating now,” the diplomat said. “As a responsible member of the international community, our country makes a weighty contribution to corresponding international efforts.”
In the near future, as Bogdanov said, “Russia will render food aid to Somali through the UN World Food Programme.” Besides, he added, “a plane of the Russian Ministry for Emergences with medicines for Somalian refugees staying on the territory of Kenya will be sent there, Russian food to the sum of one million dollars is being supplied to this country on the WFP sidelines.
“It was decided to give food aid to Ethiopia by means of making a targeted donation in the amount of two million US dollars to the Fund of the UN WFP,” the deputy foreign minister went on to say. “Together with the earlier allocated funds, the total sum of Russia’s aid to this country will amount to 3.8 million dollars.”
Bogdanov also said that “in the near future, aid will be given on the UNISEF sidelines to fulfil the sanitary and hygiene requirements in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somali, Djibouti and Eritrea in the amount of one million dollars, Russia’s targeted contribution to the Fund of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to strengthen its coordination potential will make another 500,000 dollars. According to Bogdanov, Russia “is considering to additionally increase the volume of aid to the countries of the Horn of Africa where the situation is in the focus of international attention now.”
Speaking about humanitarian aid to other African countries, Bogdanov said that in April urgent humanitarian aid to the sum of 800,000 dollars was given to Namibia, in July - - to the Republic of Chad on the UN WFP sidelines (1.8 million dollars), in the near future aid will be rendered to the Republic of Guinea on the UN WFP sidelines (two million dollars) and to the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire on the sidelines of the International Civil Defence Organization (one million dollars).
“Russia is actively promoting the settlement of armed conflicts in Africa,” the diplomat went on to say. “As a permanent member of the Security Council, our country directly participates in defining the parameters and mandates of corresponding peace-keeping operations, helps carry out close interaction of the African Union with the UN Security Council in peace-keeping issues.” “Russian servicemen and civilian policemen - - about 225 people - - are involved in all UN operations to maintain peace in Africa - - the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Western Sahara, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia and Sudan,” he explained.
Russia, Bogdanov went to say, “renders assistance in strengthening Africans’ own peace-keeping potential.” According to him, “160 specialists from 15 African countries have already undergone training in Russian specialized educational establishments according within the framework of the programme of training Africans. “We interact with other members of the international community on a permanent basis to settle and prevent conflict situations in the region,” the deputy minister said. “And we intend to continue this laborious and delicate work.”