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Russia Day celebrated

Botswana Guardian


Ernest Moloi

BG reporter

Russians living in Botswana gathered Tuesday evening at Avani Hotel in Gaborone to celebrate Russia Day, which falls on June 12. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Botswana Victor Sibilev used the opportunity to single out Russia’s breakthroughs in economic growth, industry and agriculture since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In fact Russia is the world number one in exporting cereals, whilst inflation is at a historic minimum of -2,5 percent. “Wages have increased, real incomes by 3,8 percent,” he said, adding that life expectancy has also increased. All these, plus the overwhelming recent electoral victory of President Vladimir Putin are a vote of confidence in Putin’s leadership and shows how popular he is with Russians at home and abroad.

Ambassador Sibilev said Russia–Botswana relations are “traditionally friendly” and that both sides are consistently developing their political dialogue, promoting inter-parliamentary contacts and expanding cooperation between the ministries in order to step up mutually beneficial ties in the trade, economic, humanitarian and other areas.

Speaking at the same occasion, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation, Gaeimelwe Goitsemang reiterated Botswana’s commitment to the regular convening of “Our bilateral Ambassodor Sibilev and Moiseraele Goya consultative forum, in the form of the Botswana/Russia Political Consultations,” which this year is being hosted by Botswana. “I wish to assure you of our readiness to fulfil our obligations,” he said regarding hosting this auspicious event, adding, “We will agree on a mutually convenient date soon to convene this important meeting to reflect on the state of our bilateral cooperation.” Goitsemang also wished Russia well as it hosts this year’s World Cup that begins tomorrow (Thursday).

Ambassador Sibilev expressed hope that Botswana team of government representatives, economists and business people will participate in next year’s Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia. This year’s forum under the theme, “Building a Trust Economy” attracted 17 000 participants from 143 countries and was graced by French President Emmanuel Macron and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as guests of honour.

Ambassador Sibilev also promised that as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, Russia is “fully aware" of its responsibility to “support peace and security” in the world both at the global and regional levels and is “committed” to working with all interested States to address common challenges.

Also in attendance were government dignitaries among them assistant minister Moiseraele Goya; former Minister Phandu Skelemani; Vice Chancellor of the University of Botswana Prof. David Norris, Governor of the Bank of Botswana Moses Pelaelo and members of the diplomatic corps.