Beginning of Russia-Ethiopia talks
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, colleagues, friends.
I am delighted to welcome you in St Petersburg. I would like to begin by saying that we highly value the long-standing friendly ties between Russia and Ethiopia based as they are on the principles of mutual respect and taking into consideration each other’s interests.
As Mr Prime Minister and I just recalled, for Russia, Ethiopia was the first country on the African continent with which Russia established diplomatic relations. This happened 125 years ago. We marked this anniversary recently.
Today’s meeting offers the opportunity to have a detailed discussion on the current issues on the bilateral and international agendas. At the outset, I would like to thank you, Mr Prime Minister and your team, for accepting our proposal and deciding to come here to attend the Second Russia-Africa Summit.
Despite the slight decrease in Russia-Ethiopia trade (the absolute numbers are relatively small), the general dynamic is good. Today we are seeing 56-percent growth. As you know, in June, we opened our trade mission in Addis Ababa. Hopefully, it will facilitate the development of our trade and economic links. Mr Prime Minister, in time for your visit, we drafted an entire package of documents, including intergovernmental agreements on information security and air travel; a memorandum of understanding concerning information and communication technologies; a nuclear energy cooperation road map and a protocol of cooperation betweencustoms services. We are working together on more than 15 other intergovernmental agreements and inter-agency projects.
We continue to train professionals for our friends in Ethiopia. More than 20,000 Ethiopian citizens have completed study programmes in Russia in the past years. At the request of our Ethiopian friends, we increased the quota of your students sponsored by the Russian federal budget more than three times for the 2023–2024 academic year.
We maintain a regular political dialogue, with close interaction between our foreign ministers. Russia and Ethiopia share similar positions on many topical issues of the global agenda.
I want to say welcome once again, friends, and express hope that today’s meeting and your participation in the Russia–Africa Summit will be productive and beneficial for the development of our relations.
Abiy Ahmed: Mr President,
At the outset, I would like to say I appreciate the warm welcome extended to me and my delegation since our arrival in this beautiful city. This is my first time in this city, but I found it very beautiful. Culturally, I know how Russia was close to my country in terms of culture, in terms of diplomacy, as you mentioned. We have a very long history. We have been passing through lots of ups and downs together. This visit, in my opinion, will strengthen our relationship. We are going to discuss both bilateral and international issues as well. We will discuss technology, cybersecurity, economic exchange, trade. I hope this would be a very fruitful discussion. We are very happy, we are very glad to be here, to join our fellow African leaders for the summit. Besides that, we also have the deepest interest to discuss with you, as a friend, as a brotherly country, both our bilateral issues and regional issues.
Thank you very much, Mr President.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
My colleague [the Prime Minister] and I agreed to hold this expanded meeting at a good business pace so we have more time to spend face to face.