President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, friends, colleagues,
First of all, I would like to thank you for accepting our invitation and finding the opportunity to take part in the work of the second Russia–Africa summit. I think you will agree with me: the meeting was useful and diverse; people expressed their opinions, and these opinions were different, but all the same, all the work was carried out in the spirit of friendship, mutual understanding, and a search for solutions to any issue; moreover, an interested search.
During the summit, various areas of cooperation between Russia and the African continent were discussed, and at today’s meeting, we will be able to compare notes on topical issues of bilateral cooperation and outline plans for their further development.
Bilateral ties between Russia and Burkina Faso have traditionally been friendly. Last year we celebrated the 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations. We know that people in Burkina Faso treat Russia with sympathy and interest: Mr President, I saw and heard this from you yesterday in your short speech.
For our part, we also pay great attention to developing relations with Burkina Faso. In particular, we have decided to reopen the Russian embassy, which was closed back in 1992. I am sure that the work of the Russian embassy will give an additional boost to the development of our relations.
Our political dialogue is regular. In December 2022, the Prime Minister of your interim government made a working visit to Russia. Talks between our defence ministries were held in June. Interparliamentary ties are expanding, which I find important, too.
We are ready to work together to develop trade and economic cooperation. Our trade is not extensive yet, even in terms of Russia-Africa relations, but I believe we will discuss it today: there is room to grow.
Work is underway on agreements, too. Corresponding documents are being developed in the sphere of civil aviation, sport, mutual recognition of education and qualifications.
We will continue to assist Burkina Faso in training personnel in civilian professions in Russia. In the 2023/24 academic year, 10 state scholarships have been awarded to Burkina Faso. If you are interested, Mr President, we will consider the possibility of increasing this quota.
Our countries coordinate closely on topical issues on the international agenda. We can see the good level of interaction at the UN and other international organisations. In June, the Russian Government decided to contribute 10 million US dollars as voluntary assistance to the UN World Food Programme for humanitarian assistance to a number of countries, 2.5 million US dollars of which will go to Burkina Faso.
Mr President, friends, we are sincerely pleased to welcome you to Russia, and I am glad to meet with you today.
Interim President of Burkina Faso Ibrahim Traore (retranslated): Good afternoon, everyone,
Mr President, it is a great honour for me to take part in the second Russia–Africa Summit. I would like to note the friendship between the Russian and Burkinabe peoples at this important stage. Russia is now conducting the special military operation and let me assure you that our people support you and your government.
Yesterday, we held a number of meetings and noted the diversity of the various problems we are facing. Today, this morning, we will be able to talk more about the issues of our bilateral relations.
You talked about the Russian Embassy, the Soviet Embassy that was closed in 1992, but we have already taken a number of steps to reopen it. I hope this will be done as soon as possible, whether it is an embassy or a Russian military mission.
At present, our subregion is going through difficult times. It has found itself in a zone of turbulence. We want to change our policy. Some of our traditional partners are turning their back on us, and we see who our true friend is. This is Russia that supported us in the colonisation era and continues supporting us now.
You must have learned during the summit about the developments in Niger. In that country, the military also made an initiative on assuming that nation’s leadership and, of course, this has a direct bearing on us. I talked about this yesterday in my remarks.
I also met a number of heads of state on the sidelines of this summit yesterday and they told me about the events in our subregion.
Some of them believe, without expressing it straight out, that this effect is linked with Russia and, as you can note, such reports continue circulating in the West. It is necessary to consider this moment in a diplomatic field. I think we must also look at the issue of sanctions – the sanctions must end. We want a multipolar world, and we stand for sovereignty.
At present, we are waging the same struggle as our partners – this is the struggle against terrorism. Our partners are different, and we are all neighbours, but we are unable to cooperate effectively at this time. We hope we will be able to do this eventually.
Today, we are holding a meeting with representatives of the Russian Federation Government. You have already noted that our trade relations are rather modest, but we are hoping they will grow fast. A Russian company and our businesspeople signed an agreement on the export of cereals before our arrival here. Earlier, we restored the airport in the area where this cereal grain is produced. It was exported to Germany and the Netherlands and further reexported to Russia. We decided to establish this air bridge for direct shipping in the future. Speaking of trade, we have many goods that may interest Russia, so I think we should encourage meetings between our ministers and businesspeople. I think you might be interested in our agricultural sector.
We would like to build a plant to process different materials. I know some companies are interested in this, and we can also talk about this in the context of our trade relations.
In this context, we certainly need to generate more energy – this is an important item on our agenda. If possible, we would like to have a small nuclear power plant for electricity generation in our country.
We have a strategic location – we are in the very centre of West Africa. This whole region is short of energy. I believe that if Russia, a certain company is established there, it would be able to generate energy for the entire subregion. We would like to think about how this could be done. We also had contacts on energy sources. We would like to see how we could restructure our imports. We did have contacts with some of your companies. They would like to enlist your support, and this applies to oil products as well.
There is also an issue of bitumen because we are building road infrastructure on a large scale. We are hoping for support for our producers. We would like to get your support in this regard.