Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Botswana
Tel.: (267) 3953-389
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16 october / 2014

Speech by H.E. Victor Sibilev, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Botswana, at the reception on the occasion of assuming the office, October 16, 2014

Honourable Mr. Phandu Skelemani, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Botswana,

Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Ambassador Neto

Dear Colleagues,Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Representatives of International Organizations here present,

Members of the Diplomatic community and the esteemed Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation,

Distinguished Guests,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome You at the reception on the occasion of my assuming the office as the new Ambassador of Russia to Botswana. Thank You all for coming.

It is my honour and privilege to represent the Russian Federation in beautiful Botswana, which is widely known as a dynamically developing country with solid foundations of democracy, supremacy of the law and respect for basic human rights and freedoms.

Russia and Botswana enjoy longstanding ties of friendship, mutual respectand cooperation. Since the establishment of the diplomatic relations in 1970, followed by opening our resident diplomatic mission in Gaborone in 1976 the Soviet Union, and then the Russian Federation, has become Botswana’sfriend andpartner.

Times change. Russia is no longer the Soviet Union. Botswana is no more a country at the foot of a “dangerous,about to erupt volcano”,as the first President Seretse Khama eloquently put it way back in 1978 at the ceremony of presentation of Letters of Credence by the first Soviet resident Ambassador to Botswana Mikhail Petrov.

Next year we will mark the 45th anniversary of our relations.

What brings our countries closer at the present time is the common commitment towards ensuring peace, sustainable development and establishment ofjust international economic system.

I feel very much encouraged that political dialogue, which has been maintained for decades, is continuing.A regularexchange of messages at the highest and high level, bilateral visits of Parliamentarian and Governmental delegations, diplomatic consultations, regularly held by Foreign Ministries of Russia and Botswana reflect our reciprocal commitment to strengthen friendship and cooperation.

One of the priority tasks that I assume with my accreditation to Botswana is finding all ways to strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation in the area of trade and economy.

Our countries share more than a half of the global diamond mining. This opens up additional options for cooperation, not only in maintaining stablilityof the world diamond market but also in working together and sharing experience in polishing technology and manufacture of jewelry. The potential for growing our business partnership exists also in mining, power, water and infrastructure development.A deal of experience in mining and mineral processing, accumulated during operation of “Norilsk Nickel” in Botswana since 2007 is vital in this regard. The Russian investor has implemented a number of social projects with the overall budget of approximately 1 million USD.

For the next year we are working on sending a Russian business mission to Gaborone, which will be composed of representatives of core government ministries and private businessesunder the umbrella of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. We expect that this will give an impetus for deepening our trade and economic ties.

This year at least 45 Batswana will start their higher educational studies in Russia. Training Botswana specialists in areas of law-enforcement, health and education will be continued. Focus of my work here will be also on developing cultural exchanges and continuation of the good practice of inviting Russian leading performance groups to Botswana.

During my tenure in office of the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Botswana I will exert my efforts to further promote multifaceted friendly relations between Russia and Botswana. I fully comprehend the responsibility and importance of this mission. In the years to comeI am looking forward to working closely with You just like my predecessor Ambassador Korsun did.It is my sincere hope that I can count on Your kind support. Thank You.

May I propose a toast:

To prosperity of Botswana!

To friendship and cooperation between Russia and Botswana!

To the good health of the Presidents of the Republic of Botswana and the Russian Federation, His Excellency Lieutenant General SeretseKhama Ian Khama, and His Excellency Vladimir Putin,as well as all guests here!