SOCHI, October 25. /TASS/. Russia will maintain defense cooperation with Mozambique at a level that the African country finds appropriate, Russian Ambassador in Mozambique Alexander Surikov said in an interview with TASS.
"We have a rather advanced legal framework as far as defense cooperation with Mozambique is concerned," he stated. "During recent visits, we made an agreement facilitating Russian warships’ visits to Mozambique’s ports. Cooperation will continue at a level that Mozambique finds appropriate," the ambassador added.
Surikov pointed out that the Soviet Union had provided assistance to Mozambique during its war for independence. "It is no wonder that Mozambique’s coat of arms features an AK rifle," he noted.
"Mozambique is now a peaceful country, the war for independence is over, and our cooperation declined accordingly, it has never been permanent," the Russian ambassador went on to say. "Depending on the situation, we provide more assistance to our friends in Mozambique when they need it and reduce the amount of help when they have no need for it. When they need additional resources, Russia provides assistance in accordance with their requests," he explained.
Surikov rejected allegations that Russia sought to interfere in the domestic affairs of African countries. "Some have been raising this issue in relation to Mozambique because the country’s government is carrying out a series of operations against armed gangs active in the north of Mozambique, where several rich deposits of natural resources are located," he emphasized.
However, as for defense cooperation, Russia is guided only by Mozambique’s requests, the ambassador underscored. "We provide assistance to them without threatening their neighbors and rattling the saber, we only do what our partners in Mozambique ask for," he stressed.
Mozambique's safety for tourists
Russian nationals should have no fear when they travel to Mozambique because it is safe for tourists, the Russian ambassador to the African country told TASS.
"I am sure that the safety of tourists will be secured at all times. Mozambique is one of the African countries where Russians have nothing to fear. People here are very tolerant and, which is more important, have a positive attitude towards Russians," he pointed out.
The ambassador admitted that there were criminals active in the country, particularly in its northern regions, where rich deposits of mineral resources were located. "There are some ill-wishers, including certain external forces, that seek to destroy these projects," Surikov said. However, in his words, Mozambique’s government takes the necessary steps "to deter these negative processes, making sure that all security issues are resolved."
According to the Russian envoy, "this is why the government has no plans to issue any statements warning tourists against traveling to the country. On the contrary, we have been pointing out on every occasion that both Russian tourists and businessmen are welcome here," he emphasized.
Russia and Mozambique may conclude a number of contracts for upgrading transport infrastructure in that African country, Russia’s ambassador in Mozambique, Alexander Surikov, told TASS in an interview.
"At the Russia-Africa Summit talks were held on the possibility of cooperation in upgrading a number of transport facilities. Mozambique has many ports and railways that need new equipment and means of transport. I am certain that there will be breakthroughs along these lines," he said, adding that no concrete deals had been concluded so far.
Surikov informed that Russian companies were in talks with Mozambique over the exploration and production of hydrocarbons and the construction of energy facilities.
"This concerns hydropower plants and gas-fueled generating facilities and power transmission lines. Documentation is being agreed on the supply of Russian transport equipment," he said.
Also, Surikov underlined Mozambique’s ability to offer cooperation in growing tropical farm products and transit opportunities.
"Mozambique’s Indian Ocean coast stretches nearly 2,500 kilometers north to south. There are several ports linked by railways with central Africa: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Congo and Botswana. The supplies of Russian machines and equipment for projects in neighboring countries can be carried out through Mozambique. Its territory may be used to provide transport support for these projects," Surikov specified.
"Mozambique is included in the region’s free trade zone. Russian companies will find it easy to distribute all goods delivered there throughout the entire region. Our manufactures are in great demand there," he added.
On October 23-24, the resort city of Sochi hosted the first ever Russia-Africa Summit, co-chaired by Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt. All 54 African countries participated in the event, 43 of which were represented by heads of state. Eight major African integration associations and organizations were also involved. The Roscongress Foundation organized the summit, and TASS was its official photo hosting agency.