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Russia keen to expand cooperation with African Union in all areas - Lavrov

Moscow is also inviting African countries to join the database on terrorists established by Russia’s Federal Security Service, the Foreign Minister said

ADDIS ABABA, March 9. /TASS/. Russia intends to expand ties with the African Union in all areas and is ready to establish even more instruments for cooperation, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said following the meeting with the Chairperson of the Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat on Friday.

"We intend to cooperate with the African Union in all areas without exceptions: in political, trade and economic, humanitarian, educations fields, and of course concerning coordination of our activities in the international arena," he said.

According to Lavrov, all strategies being developed by the African Union, including the Agenda 2063, contain areas interesting for Moscow. "And of course we will establish additional instruments for cooperation in the areas where we have common interests," Russia’s top diplomat said.

The African Union’s Agenda 2063 is a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years. Its builds on, and seeks to accelerate the implementation of past and existing continental initiatives for growth and sustainable development.

UN Security Council reform

The reform of the UN Security Council should include measures to expand the mission of developing regions, particularly the African continent, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

"The top priority is to expand the number of representatives of the world’s three developing regions (in the UN Security Council - TASS), necessarily including the African continent," he said, adding that the issue is about the countries of Asia, Latin America and Africa.

"We are ready to consider any options, provided that they help reach a broad consensus. In this respect, we consider such candidates as India and Brazil, representing Asia and Latin America, respectively, to be very strong. But we do not consider it possible to take a decision on the Security Council’s expansion unless the question of Africa’s mission is raised as part of this issue," Russia’s top diplomat said.

According to Chairperson of the African Union Commission, it is "unfair" that Africa's mission at the UN Security Council is insufficient. "It is incomprehensible why the continent is not a permanent member of the Security Council yet. It is quite a legal requirement of the African continent that we have voiced for decades, but as we can see there has not been any progress yet," he said, adding that African countries expect Russia to give them a helping hand in this regard. "We expect Russia to support this fair request so make sure than everyone can participate in managing today’s world, which becomes increasingly integrated".

Database of terrorists

Moscow is inviting African countries to consider joining the database on foreign terrorists established by Russia’s Federal Security Service, Lavrov said.

"We have invited the African Union Commission to prompt their members to explore the opportunity of joining the database on foreign terrorists established by the Russian Federal Security Service," he said, adding that "the more universal the database is, the easier it will be to track suspected terrorists in any country".

Russia-Africa Summit

The issue of holding the Russia-Africa summit is not being discussed yet, Lavrov said.

"So far the Russia-Africa summit is not on the agenda. Now we need to boost efforts to deliver practical benefits for African countries and Russia. I am convinced that the issue of holding a summit may be discussed once a solid set of agreements is accumulated."

According to Lavrov, the issue of setting up a special economic zone in Zimbabwe relates to bilateral cooperation. "But the plans approved and promoted by the African Union, including the promotion of trade liberalization on the continental scale is interesting for Russian business," he said, adding that Moscow will assume steps to make Russian business circles join those projects.

Invitation to Russia

Moussa Faki Mahamat has accepted the invitation to visit Russia, the Foreign Minister of Russia said.

"I am pleased to say that the chairperson has accepted the invitation to visit the Russian Federation," he said, adding that the sides would "continue supporting the decisions to settle conflicts on the African continent both through the UN Security Council, by providing opportunities to use our education institutions for training peacekeepers, and by providing them with necessary equipment for respective operations.".