PRETORIA, April 18 (Itar-Tass) – The seventh two-day regional conference of Russian compatriots living in Africa and the Middle East is opening in South Africa on Thursday.
“We plan to exchange views on the situation of Russians in their countries, on the strengthening of cultural ties with Russia and with each other,” Chairman of the Association of Russian Compatriots of South Africa Oleg Pantyukhin, who organised the meeting with support of the Russian Embassy and the representative of the Russian Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo) in South Africa, told Itar-Tass.
Representatives of the North African countries: Algeria, Lebanon, Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia arrived in Johannesburg to attend the conference. West Africa is represented by Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon and Cote d'Ivoire. Central, East and South Africa are represented by compatriots from Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of Congo, Uganda, Madagascar, Mozambique, Zambia and South Africa. Taking part in the conference from the Middle East are representatives of Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon. Former ambassador to South Africa, Director of the Department for Compatriots at the Russian Foreign Ministry Anatoly Makarov and Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Andrei Klimov arrived from Moscow.
According to the Association of Russian Compatriots, about five thousand Russian-speaking citizens reside in South Africa.
“The conference is to contribute to the strengthening of the consolidating potential of compatriots at the regional level, the search for ways and mechanisms to address issues related to the support of their rights, to meet their cultural, informational, educational and linguistic demands,” Rossotrudnichestvo representative in South Africa Alexei Vinogradov told Itar-Tass.