MOSCOW, February 9. /TASS/. Numerous African states seek to pursue military and technical cooperation with Russia and buy new weapon systems, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Africa Department Andrei Kemarsky told TASS on Friday.
"The armed forces of many African countries were established in the Soviet period with the active support of our country. The armament and military hardware they operate are of Soviet or Russian make. In this regard, they objectively retain interest in maintaining this hardware in an operational state, renewing it and acquiring some new weapon systems," the Russian diplomat said.
"Aside from this, the African countries view the development of cooperation in the military and technical sphere as an instrument of ensuring their sovereignty, independence and countering the pressure of Western countries and providing security, including amid the struggle against terrorist challenges," he noted.
"The threat of terrorism in some African regions is intensifying, including as a result of the Western countries’ military intervention in Libya, from which radical ideas, extremism and terrorism are spreading today, first of all, to the Sahara-Sahel region," he added.
As the Russian diplomat said, Russia is rendering assistance, including for the purpose of preparing peace-keeping personnel "for countering a terrorist threat and international cross-border crime, which is expanding in instability areas."
"We are training both military and police personnel for peacekeeping operations. I hope that such cooperation will continue in the interests of Russia and African states," Kemarsky said.