Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Botswana
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12 june / 2018

Speech of the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Botswana Victor Sibilev at the reception on the occasion of Russia Day, Gaborone, June 12, 2018

Gaborone, June 12, 2018

Honourable Moisarele Goya,

Assistant Minister of Investment,

Trade and Industry,

Esteemed Gaimelwe Goitsemang,

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation,

Heads of diplomatic missions and international organizations, senior government officials, captains of industry and dear Russian compatriots,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen!

I. Russia Day is a rather young national holiday of the Russian Federation, has been celebrated since 2002 traditionally on the 12th of June.

This year is very much important for the Russian Federation’s development and history. As you well know, we held elections of the President of the Russian Federation in March 2018.

According to the Central Election Commission of Russia in the presidential elections held at home and abroad, including at the Russian Embassy in Gaborone, V.Putin won the overwhelming 76.7% of voters support, and outside the country - 85%. This shows the real popularity of the Russian leader, the confidence of people in achieving under his leadership the proclaimed goals.

As the Russian President said in his inauguration speech “Russia is open for dialogue, together with our partners will actively promote integration processes; intensify business, humanitarian, cultural and scientific relations”. We support equal and mutually beneficial cooperation with all states in the interests of peace and stability. Our objective as formulated by the President V.Putin “Russia is for people, perceived as a country with opportunities and self-realization of every human being”. New quality of life, welfare, security and health are the main priorities of our development.

We have reached sustainable economic growth. Industry and agriculture are growing steadily. Russia became the world number one in exporting cereals. Inflation is historical minimum - 2,5 percent. Wages have increased, real incomes –by 3,8 percent. Another important indicator of our development-increase of life expectancy.

The recent Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum 2018 was held under the slogan “Building a Trust Economy”. The 17,000 participants arrived fr om 143 countries are a kind of testament to that fact. The President of France Emmanuel Macron and the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe were the honored guests at the Forum.

Speaking at the Forum plenary session, Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, noted that “Russia has put in place an admirable macroeconomic framework – saving for a rainy day, letting the exchange rate float, introducing inflation targeting, and shoring up the banking system.” We are looking forward that Botswana team of government representatives, economists and business people will take part at the forum in 2019.

Special attention at the forum was paid to the African continent due to the celebration of two important days during the forum -Africa Day and the 55th anniversary of the African Union. On May the 25th the Russian President V.Putin met the Central African President Faustin-Archange Toudera after the Forum and reconfirmed desire to reinforce economical and humanitarian relations.

II. As you know Russia conducts an assertive and independent foreign policy guided by its national interests and based on unconditional respect of the international law. As a permanent member of the UN 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. President Vladimir Putin recently sent his traditional message of greetings to the heads of African states and governments on the occasion of Africa Day and to the President of the Republic of Botswana H.E. Mokgweetsi Masisi. He praised the successes of African countries in diverse spheres, as well as Africa’s growing role in forming a fair and democratic multipolar international order. We believe the main goal of the ongoing discussions on reforming the UN Security Council is to ensure that the developing regions of the world- Asia, Africa and Latin America-are more fairly represented in this global organization.

The Russian Federation supports the principle that African problems require African solutions. Humanitarian aid to African states from Russia will continue, including as part of the UN and the G20 and BRICS, especially to those countries that have fallen victim to conflicts, natural and man-made disasters and pandemics. The start of dialogue between the African Union Commission and the Commission of the Eurasian Economic Union is a new undertaking, which is extensive and ambitious.

III. We consider Russian – Botswana relations as traditionally friendly. Both sides consistently developing our 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 spheres. Last year Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of Botswana Mr. Thuso Ramoodimosi visited Moscow to hold inter-ministerial consultations with the Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Special Presidential Envoy for Middle East and African countries Mr. Mikhail Bogdanov. In the course of consultations an in-depth exchange of opinions was held on important international and African problems with both sides stating similar points of view in favour of a greater role of the United Nations in world affairs and the need for consolidated efforts by the international community against terrorism and other modern challenges. The next round of political consultations is to be held in Gaborone.

Our country would like to expand the exchange of the delegations, including government, business, scientific and youth representatives. There were a number of Botswana high-level delegations participating in important international events held in Russia last year, among them the 8th International Meeting of High Representatives Responsible for Security Issues, International ministerial meeting of the heads of government bodies and agencies responsible for youth policy and the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students in Sochi.

Russia is engaged in the training of Botswana specialists in different areas, including mining, engineering, medicine, IT, law enforcement and others under the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Minister Unity Dow in Moscow in June 2016. In 2017 fifty five Botswana students joined educational programmes at the Russian universities, both on state-sponsored and commercial basis. There are other examples of our cooperation.

Furthermore, together with our Botswana partners we are developing several MoUs and Agreements which will facilitate and contribute to our cooperation in the fields of healthcare, environmental protection, visa-free regime and others. Cultural exchange is also important-the Russian ballet already for the third year has successively visited Gaborone. Now the whole world lives in anticipation of the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Russia. All 64 football matches will take place in eleven Russian cities at twelve newly reconstructed stadiums, among them well known Luzhniki Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan and others. For football admirers we granted non-visa regime and also provided free transportation between all 11 cities wh ere the matches will take place, as well prepared rich cultural programmes and a diversified national cuisine. We know that a number of Botswana’s football fans along with guests from the whole world will go to Russia and sincerely wish them to enjoy this magnificent event.

I am convinced that the deepening of Russia-Botswana partnership following the time-tested traditions of friendship, equality and mutual respect makes our countries stronger, more prosperous and resilient to all sorts of challenges.

In conclusion I would like to propose a toast to the health and long life of Their Excellences Mokgweetsi Masisi, the President of the Republic of Botswana, and Mr. Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, the happiness and well-being of the people of this beautiful country, to friendship and good relations between Russia and Botswana, to the international peace and security.

Pula!