President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President Conde, ladies and gentlemen,
The talks with President of Guinea and Chairperson of the African Union Alpha Conde were held in a friendly and constructive atmosphere. We discussed the entire range of matters on the bilateral agenda, first in the restricted format and then together with ministers and heads of agencies and companies. We reviewed the achievements we attained since our previous meeting with Mr Conde on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in June 2016 and made plans for the future. As you know, we have singed a large package of documents.
Guinea is an important and reliable partner for Russia in Africa. Russia and Guinea are united by friendly and long-standing ties. Next year, we will celebrate 60 years of our diplomatic relations, as we said today.
The President of Guinea made a big personal contribution to the deepening of our bilateral cooperation. I was pleased to present a Russian state decoration to him today, the Order of Friendship, in recognition of his services.
I would like to say that our talks today focused on the further development of our trade and economic cooperation. Mutual trade almost doubled in the first six months of this year. We have increased exports of Russian chemicals, machines, equipment and motor vehicles, as well as food and agricultural products to Guinea.
However, bilateral trade does not look impressive at all. We have agreed to take practical measures to stimulate trade. Instructions regarding this have been issued to the Russian-Guinean Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation. It held its regular, fifth meeting in Conakry in July.
Yesterday Mr Conde attended a bilateral business forum, which was organised by the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and could see that Russian and Guinean companies have solid plans for promoting cooperation in a number of spheres.
Mining has always been a major area of bilateral cooperation. Russian aluminium holding Rusal has been working successfully in Guinea for over 15 years. The company owns several bauxite and alumina complexes there, with mines, factories, storage and infrastructure facilities, such as a port and a railway line. Its total investment in the project has exceeded $300 million.
By the way, the memorandum which Rusal has signed with its Guinean partners today provides for extending the Dian-Dian concession agreements and the Kindia bauxite agreement for 25 years.
Russian company Severstal, which works on Guinea’s market of precious metals, is developing the Lefa gold mine. United Heavy Machinery Plants (OMZ, Uralmash-Izhora Group) is examining the possibility of supplying mining equipment to Guinea.
Power generation has good potential in Guinea. Russian companies are ready to help build and equip Guinean energy facilities. For example, Power Machines is interested in exporting power generating units for the Koukoutamba hydroelectric power plant project, while RusHydro can help with the technical feasibility study and design.
We hope that our partners will take a positive view of Russian companies’ ideas on the export of aircraft, trucks and cross-country vehicles to Guinea.
Healthcare is another important area of cooperation. The Rospotrebnadzor [Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing] and Rusal have established an up-to-date hospital in Guinea to jointly fight the Ebola virus outbreak, as well as a research epidemiology and microbiology clinic and diagnostic centre. Clinical testing of the Ebola vaccine created by our researchers began in August.
The intergovernmental agreement on healthcare, medical education and research, which was signed today, offers new cooperation opportunities in public health.
Russia will continue to help Guinea by training national professionals. Over 2,000 Guineans have graduated from Russian universities. This year we have increased Guinea’s quota to 61 students. The interdepartmental memorandum of understanding on higher education and research and technical cooperation will further boost our ties in education.
We have agreed to strengthen our foreign policy coordination at the bilateral level and at international organisations, primarily the African Union, where Guinea holds the rotating chairmanship this year.
We regard the African Union as a respected regional organisation that is actively involved in tackling important matters related to Africa’s development, such as ensuring security and economic prosperity on the continent.
Evidence of the African Union’s growing international influence is the attendance by Mr Conde as the Union’s chairperson of the September BRICS Summit in China in the outreach format.
For its part, Russia supports international efforts to promote the development of African states. Working under the UN Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, we have written off over $20 billion in African countries’ debts. In 2016, we allocated $5 million to support African countries through the World Food Programme. This year UNIDO has launched a project that is being funded by Russia to develop the fisheries and aquaculture sector in Ethiopia.
In conclusion, I would like to thank Mr Conde and all our Guinean colleagues for the substantive and productive talks we held today. I am confident that the agreements we have reached will help boost Russian-Guinean cooperation and will strengthen interaction with all African countries.
Thank you for your attention.
President of Guinea and Chairperson of the African Union Alpha Conde (retranslated): I can assure you that we are highlysatisfied with the results of our meeting with President Putin and the Russian delegation.
We are glad that Guinean-Russian cooperation in healthcare, education, defence, security, fishing and the economy is developing successfully.
We are also expanding our cooperation in mining, and we hope that more Russian companies will come to work in Guinea.
We have also asked Mr President as our long-time partner to facilitate our economic development. We have asked for Russia’s assistance on this path.
The assistance we receive now, including economic and financial assistance, will boost the development of our enterprises and will help us create new infrastructure, including dams, and improve our cities. We appreciate Russia’s intention to cooperate with us in this area.
Guinea is advancing to a new level of cooperation with its partners, which can be described as strategic cooperation. We hope that we will attain much more impressive results in our relations with Russia and that our cooperation will move to a higher level.
We know very well that Russia and President Vladimir Putin always do what they promise, that they are reliable and loyal partners, and we are confident that both Guinea and Russia will benefit from these relations.
Regarding the African Union, we can say that Russia has always supported it. African countries want to decide their future for themselves and to settle critical situations and crises as soon as possible.
We want to fight terrorism more effectively, but we also want to deal with these problems on our own. We do not understand why peacekeepers from Bangladesh should come to Guinea to settle our internal problems. You know that peacekeepers have been stationed in the Congo for the past 20 years, yet this has not helped us achieve substantial results so far. We want to build up our own potential to deal with crisis situations and to fight terrorism.
We remember that our country received assistance from the Soviet Union, and we know that Russia is doing the same now, for which we are very grateful.
As President of Guinea and Chairperson of the African Union, I can tell you that we are resolved to promote and deepen relations at the bilateral level and also between Russia and the African Union, because cooperation with Russia, just as Africa’s cooperation with other countries, is very important for us.
I want to thank Mr President and his team once again for their active support and for the warm welcome we received from the very beginning.