Russia-Africa Summit Taking Shape
July 18, 2019 (EIRNS)—Russia’s Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, reported yesterday that “about 35” leaders of African countries have confirmed their participation in the first-ever Russia-Africa Summit on Oct. 24 in Sochi. Acceptances are still coming in, and Bogdanov expects that “at least 40” heads of state or government will attend. The summit is not conceived as a one-time affair, he clarified; the intent is to hold Russia-Africa summits every two to three years on a regular basis, not always in Sochi.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who met yesterday with Côte d’Ivoire Foreign Minister Marcel Amon-Tanoh in Moscow, told reporters after their meeting that Russia expects that the summit, and the Russia-Africa economic forum to be held the day prior, will mark “a major milestone in Russian-African relations and will also help define our future partnership.”
Lavrov pointed out that African-Russian trade now exceeds $20 billion. That is small compared to Africa’s trade with China or some European countries, he said, but it is three times larger than trade in 2015, and the momentum of growth should continue.
He also reported that he and Amon-Tanoh had spoken “in detail” about anti-terrorism efforts, because of the growing terrorist activity on the African continent (e.g., ISIS) and the continuing conflicts (e.g., Somalia, Mali) which are breeding grounds for extremists and terrorists. Lavrov invited Africa to participate in the data bank for tracking foreign terrorist fighters established by the Russian Federal Security Service’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee as part of Russia’s efforts to create a global anti-terrorist coalition “without any double standards.” Some 40 special services from 35 countries are already using that anti-terrorist database, including Interpol, the UN Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure, Lavrov reported.