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Putin makes Africa sovereignty pledge

The African continent is becoming one of the pillars of a new multipolar world, and Russia will do everything in its power to help it prosper, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

In a welcome address to participants of the Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum in St. Petersburg, scheduled for July 27 and 28, Putin signaled that Moscow sees great value in cooperation with African nations.

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“Russia supports African states’ aspiration to achieve social and economic stability and progress. It is important that our cooperation with Africa has reached a new level in recent years,” he said, adding that Moscow intends to further develop trade and investment as well as help fight poverty, train personnel and ensure food security.

The Russian president added that Africa is now “more and more confidently asserting itself as one of the poles of the emerging multipolar world,” noting that he is certain the forum “will give an additional impetus” to long-term cooperation between the continent and Moscow.

According to Russian officials, the summit will be attended by 49 African delegations, with 17 governments being represented by heads of state. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Oleg Ozerov, the chair of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum Secretariat, said that the meeting will see the signing of a “very solid package of agreements,” including those on counter-terrorism, non-deployment of weapons in space, and international security as well as a general political declaration, and a Joint Action Plan for 2023-2026.

The summit will also address the establishment of routes for the delivery of Russian grain and fertilizers to Africa, Ozerov noted, with relevant discussions set to take place after Moscow withdrew from the UN- and Türkiye-mediated grain deal, citing the West’s failure to lift sanctions hindering Russian agricultural exports.

However, on Tuesday, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov claimed that Western countries, particularly the US and France, were putting “unprecedented pressure” on African countries to prevent them from attending the summit.

Western countries are “in fact standing in the way of the sovereign right of African states to independently choose partners both for expanding cooperation… in various fields and for discussing hot issues,” the spokesman said.

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