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JOHANNESBURG, March 19, /ITAR-TASS/. The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has voiced support for Russia’s stance on Crimea, saying no one has the right to call the will of the Crimean people expressed at a referendum into question, Mikhail Margelov, the Russian president’s special envoy for cooperation with Africa and the head of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs, told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.
Margelov, who is attending a PAP session, said that Ghana’ s former president Jerry Rawlings had been the first to set the tonality for the discussion.
“He gave his full and absolute support to Russia’s stance on Crimea. The deputies applauded him. After that, he came up to me and shook my hand. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said the same in a private conversation,” Margelov said, noting that the Pan-African deputies told him that the days of the uni-polar world were over because Russia was strong again.
“You are our hope,” the deputies stressed.
The Pan-African Parliament, which unites 54 African countries and is the main legislative body of the African Union, noted a positive tonality of a speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin devoted to Crimea which all Pan-African deputies listened to with great attention.
“The deputies stressed that no one could challenge people’s will expressed at the referendum and that no one had cancelled the right of nations to self-determination. The African MPs criticized the West for its policy of double standards, which the African states could also feel on themselves,” Margelov went on to say.
The Russian lawmaker became convinced once again that countries whom Russia had been helping since the times of the Russian Empire and the former Soviet Union remained reliable partners.
“It is vitally important for them that Russia is not dancing to anybody’s tune but is defending its national interests. This is my biggest emotional impression from this session,” Margelov emphasized.
He has also met Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who is the African Union’s current chairperson.
“Africans are willing to participate in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. If the West decides to cut relations with Russia, they are ready to discuss how to re-orient us to Africa and continue a dialogue which Russian President Vladimir Putin started with 20 African leaders on the sidelines of the BRICS summit held in South Africa last year. Africans believe that we have what to offer each other in the sphere of economy and trade,” the Russian lawmaker stressed.