PRETORIA, June 25, 3:56 /ITAR-TASS/. A summit of the African Union (AU), which brings together 54 African countries, opens in the Republic of Equatorial Guinea (REG) on Wednesday. Food security, and the situation at flashpoints of the continent where there is growing threat of spread of hunger will be the main themes for discussion at the summit.
Mikhail Margelov, Russia's special presidential representative for cooperation with African countries, and a member of the Federation Council (FC) upper house of parliament, will participate in the AU summit.
Varvara Paal, press secretary of the special presidential representative, told Itar-Tass that Margelov "will discuss political and economic cooperation matters and will also convey Russia's stand on acute problems that are on the present-day international agenda (such as) Syria, Iran, and Ukraine to the African leaders".
Margelov will hold separate meetings with the Heads of State and Government of Angola, Kenya, the Republic of South Africa, Uganda, Sudan, and Bourkina Faso participating in the summit, as well as with Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Chairman of the AU and President of the REG. Mbasogo visited Moscow in June 2011. Agreements on technical-military and energy cooperation were signed during the visit.
In March this year, Margelov clarified Russia's stand on Ukraine and Crimea at a Panafrican parliament session held in South Africa. "The Parliament members emphasized that no one may appeal against the people's will expressed in a referendum and noone abolished the people's right to self-determination. The parliamentarians criticized the West for double standards'' the effect of which African countries are experiencing," the RF Special Representative said as a result of his meetings in South Africa.
"One gets convinced once again that those countries, which we have been assisting ever since the days of the Russian Empire and in Soviet times, remain our reliable partners and it is utterly important to them that Russia never echoes other people's voices but upholds its national interests," Senator Margelov stressed.
According to Margelov, particular support for Russia was expressed by President Yoweri Museweni of Uganda. Last week he received Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Gennady Gatilov. They stated lack of alternatives to approaching a settlement of regional conflicts by politico-diplomatic methods, underlining that "The policy course towards imposing solutions from the outside and exporting development patterns without taking into account the specificity and traditions of a country is conducive to an aggravation of the existing problems", Russia's Foreign Ministry pointed out after the talks.
The stand of South Africa, which is the leading economy of the African continent and Russia's partner for the BRICS group of countries, has been duly appreciated.
Sergey Naryshkin, Speaker of the State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament, who attended the inauguration of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma a month ago, told Itar-Tass, "The reaction of South Africa is a reserved, well-considered and, I'd say, correct one. We are grateful for such a reaction of our counterparts and friends from the Republic of South Africa to the events in Ukraine and to the stand and policy of the Russian Federation with regard to the Ukrainian crisis".