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Putin to hold talks in Moscow with president of Guinea-Bissau

Putin and Embalo will also discuss Russia’s interaction with ECOWAS, including preparations for a second Russia-Africa summit, due in St. Petersburg next July

MOSCOW, October 25. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with his counterpart from Guinea-Bissau, Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Umaro Sissoco Embalo, in Moscow on Tuesday.

The Kremlin press service said earlier that the two leaders would exchange views on prospects for the development of Russia-Bissau relations and on pressing regional and international issues. Putin and Embalo will also discuss Russia’s interaction with ECOWAS, including preparations for a second Russia-Africa summit, due in St. Petersburg next July, the Kremlin added.

Earlier, RFI said Embalo was planning to visit Kiev after his stay in Moscow, however, this information has not been officially confirmed.

In September, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with the leader of Guinea-Bissau on the sidelines of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly where they discussed bilateral interaction and prospects for fostering it. Lavrov and Embalo expressed their support for enhancing bilateral political dialogue and expanding economic ties.

Embalo has held the presidential post in Guinea-Bissau since January 2020, while he was the country’s prime minister from November 2016 through January 2018. The politician was educated in Portugal, Spain and other countries and specializes in international relations (Africa and the Middle East). He underwent further training in defense and security, and, according to some reports, he used to be advisor to Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi.

ECOWAS and coup attempt in Guinea-Bissau

On February 1, a coup attempt took place in Guinea-Bissau. During a government meeting, armed men arrested the cabinet and the president, who were later released by the military loyal to the head of state. Embalo described the incident as a coup d’etat, saying that suspects in drug trafficking were behind it.

ECOWAS condemned the coup attempt and deployed a stabilization force to Guinea-Bissau. Peacekeepers have been out there to protect the country’s leadership and its key government institutions.

Established in 1975, ECOWAS presently unites 15 West African countries. Embalo assumed the rotating presidency of ECOWAS in July to become Guinea-Bissau’s first representative to head the region’s largest organization.

Russia-Africa summit

The first Russia-Africa summit and economic forum were held in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi in October 2019 under the slogan "For Peace, Security and Development." As Russian Ambassador-at-Large Oleg Ozerov said earlier, Russia expects that most African heads of state will attend the second summit.

Lavrov has said that cooperation between Russia and African countries was becoming ever more relevant amid global turbulence caused by Western actions. Russia’s top diplomat has emphasized that fostering comprehensive partnership with African countries is among his country’s foreign policy priorities.

Russia’s Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa Mikhail Bogdanov said earlier this month that, despite sanctions and moves by unfriendly countries, African representatives had been displaying their intentions to maintain multifaceted cooperation with Russia, while relations between Russia and Africa had been developing successfully based on mutual will and desire.

According to Bogdanov, Moscow is seeking to develop comprehensive partnership with Africa, with moves to expand political dialogue as well as economic and humanitarian cooperation.