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Russia envoy to discuss Mali’s military operation at African Union summit

Margelov is to leave for a working trip around the African continent on Friday

MOSCOW, January 25 (Itar-Tass) – Russian president’s special envoy to Africa Mikhail Margelov is to leave for a working trip around the African continent on Friday.

Margelov, who spoke to Itar-Tass about it, said he is due to participate in the African Union’s summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on January 25-27.

“The main issues on the agenda of the summit are the counter-terrorist operation in Mali conducted by the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) and the inter-Sudanese settlement as well,” he said.

Margelov is set to hold bilateral meetings with delegations of South Sudan, the republic of Mali, Uganda, Somaliland and Congo and to hand a message from Russian President Vladimir Putin to Congolese President Joseph Kabila, in particular.

The Russian envoy will leave Addis Ababa for Sudan to discuss that country's economic cooperation with Russia and prospects for the inter-Sudanese settlement.

He is carrying a letter from Vladimir Putin to his Sudanese counterpart Umar al-Bashir, Margelov said.

“Russia actively supports encouraging activity in the implementation of the African Union’s road map coordinated at a summit of Sudanese and South Sudanese heads of state in Addis Ababa last September,” Margelov said as he mentioned Russia’s stance on the inter-Sudanese settlement.

“The international community welcomed optimistically the agreements reached at the summit on security, on Four Freedoms of the two states’ citizens, and on resumption of oil output in the South and its transportation via the territory of the Republic of Sudan,” he said. “According to general estimates, practical implementation of the agreements will allow Sudan and South Sudan to lay a firm foundation for their co-existence as good neighbors and for constructive cooperation.”

Margelov will make his next stop in Niger. “The talks with that country’s President Issoufou Mahamadou will focus on the operation in Mali and security of the personnel of the Russian companies working in Niger as well. Niger’s military contingent is taking part in the military operation in Mali within AFISMA forces formed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS),” he said.

The final destination of the Russian presidential special envoy will be Morocco. Margelov is expected to meet with Moroccan Foreign Minister Saad-Eddine al-Othmani on January 30.

He will also participate in the wreath-laying ceremony at the Ben M'Sik European Cemetery in Casablanca. “The Russian necropolis was opened at the end of 2007. Russian graves were restored by the Consulate General in Casablanca with the participation of the Russian Society for Solidarity and Cooperation with Asia and Africa (RSSCAA) and support from Vneshtorgbank foreign trade bank,” Margelov said.