President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, friends, I am very glad to see you again.
I believe we had a good day of work yesterday. I would like to thank you for staying with us during these days. Our work continues. I believe the summit has been a success, not least thanks to you, Mr President, friends. I am grateful that you participated personally. I am confident that this will give an additional boost to the development of our relations with Africa in general and, of course, with Guinea-Bissau in particular.
Relations between our countries are traditionally friendly. We have supported you both during the struggle against colonialism and after your country gained independence. This October will mark the 50th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. I believe this is a good and important event.
During our talks in Moscow last October, we discussed a wide range of issues on the regional agenda and prospects of bilateral cooperation. Today we have a chance to outline further steps to develop our relations.
We have established regular political dialogue. Last year you had the opportunity to meet with Russia’s Foreign Minister on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly. Thank you for this. Your Parliament Speaker took part in the second Russia-Africa International Parliamentary Conference in Moscow in March. An agreement has been reached to establish a friendship group. Bilateral trade, economic and investment ties have great potential, which has not yet been tapped. Let us talk about possible measures to improve our trade indicators. We can see prospects in such areas as geological exploration, development of the mineral resource base, infrastructure development, energy, agriculture and fisheries.
Our countries enjoy regular cooperation in education. Let us remember once again that more than 5,000 students from Guinea-Bissau have been trained in Soviet and Russian universities. Over the past five years, the allocated quota of state scholarships has more than doubled.
By the way, in response to your request, Mr President, we have made the decision to increase the number of places for your students to 75.
The Republic of Guinea-Bissau takes an active position in solving urgent international and regional problems. This is largely due to your personal efforts, my friend.
The approaches of Russia and Guinea-Bissau to forming a multipolar world order and international security, fighting terrorism, complying with international law, maintaining the central and coordinating role of the UN are among the issues on which our positions are very close to yours.
We can note that Guinea-Bissau has traditionally supported foreign policy initiatives that are important for Russia and we are grateful for your consistent support of our candidates to the elected bodies of the UN and other international organisations.
I am very glad that we have met again.
President of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau Umaro Sissoco Embalo (retranslated): I see the translation was into French, so I will speak French.
Thank you very much for organising this wonderful summit. We have taken part in different summits but this one was very well organised indeed. And, of course, President Putin has so much energy. I am younger than he is but even I do not know if I had enough energy to first hold the summit and conduct so many bilateral meetings afterwards.
By tradition, we have good relations with Russia. This year, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of our cooperation, so we could not have missed it. We took part in the Russia–Africa summit to pay our respects and note the level of relations we have with the Russian Federation.
We have people on our team who studied here in Leningrad, in St Petersburg. One of my colleagues was in Baku and another one also studied in the Soviet Union. As you see, we have links with Russia.
I would like to tell President Vladimir Putin that you can rely on Guinea-Bissau as a trusted partner. We are not just friends. We are brothers. We will never forget the support that the fraternal Soviet people rendered to us during our struggle for independence. Today, we have arrived here and are representing an independent nation. We have become independent owing to you. We cannot forget this.
We arrived here after a long flight. We were not afraid that the flight was going to be a long one; in fact, it took 22 hours. We stopped in Spain and Turkiye, we went on a big trip but we still came here. We realise that we are back to the Cold War period now but we managed to come, nonetheless.
Mr President, I am grateful to you for your attention and to the Russian Ambassador to Guinea-Bissau for his help. We have already received replies to the questions we asked at our meeting last year. That said, I would like to repeat that we want to be Russia’s door to the West African market. Now we have established ECOWAS [the Economic Community of West African States] that is called a Troika. I chaired it. It also includes Nigeria and Benin. Nigeria chairs it now – after our big summit in Bissau, attended by all heads of state, and I am going to go to Nigeria from Russia, because tomorrow we will have a large summit there on the state coup in Niger.
We hope for Russia’s support because it has always been with us and we know it is a good partner. There are countries that stage anti-constitutional, undemocratic coups. President Putin is an elected President. We hope coups will end in our region.
Our country is rich in mineral resources and we can use this potential. I believe we could develop cooperation in the education of personnel. I remember myself that when I was a student, we had Soviet teachers in geography, physics and chemistry. At that time, the level of education was very high owing to those teachers. Now it has declined a bit but we hope to restore the former level with the help of our partnership.
Mr President, I believe Russia is a partner we can really trust and you, in turn, can rely on us.
There is a Russian company, the LUKOIL energy consortium that is an expert on oil. It is involved in geological prospecting in our country. We would like the Russian Government to encourage your businesses to step up their involvement in oil production in our country. You have vast experience and we are ready and open to such cooperation with your oil businesses.