Two Presidents also exchanged views on the situation in Africa.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President,
Please allow me to sincerely welcome you to Moscow. This is your first official visit to Russia – it is timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our nations.
I am very pleased that, due in part to your personal efforts, our trade turnover increased 12-fold last year. However, this year, we are seeing some change, but that is normal since we do not yet have the necessary instruments up and running.
But we are very happy about your visit specifically because I feel that today we can have a detailed discussion of our areas of cooperation and creating mechanisms for interaction.
There are many such areas: they include our mutual interest in cooperating in engineering, infrastructure development, energy, military technical cooperation and, of course, staff training. More than four thousand citizens from your nation have already been trained or are currently studying in Russia.
Overall, we have many areas for cooperation. We are very happy to see you. Welcome!
President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni (retranslated): Thank you, Mr President,
I would like to thank you for the invitation to visit Russia.
The Soviet Union once made a decisive input in destroying the colonial system in Africa. Russia is the successor to the Soviet Union. And above all, I would like to express my gratitude to the people of Russia for supporting our nation.
I have come here in a dual role: as the President of my nation and a representative of a regional organisation.
You mentioned the areas of cooperation we can discuss: first and foremost, infrastructure, energy, processing of agricultural products, and military cooperation. These are the areas pertaining to Russian-Ugandan relations.
This year, I am the co-chair of three organisations in the region. First of all, the East African Community, which includes Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Kenya. I am also the co-chair of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, which has 19 member states, including Egypt, Ethiopia, Zambia, the Congo, and many other nations in West Africa. The last is the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region of Africa, which includes many nations.
We are implementing various projects and I would like to mention them as well – they concern the development of railroads. Railroads must connect the nations of East Africa to the Congo, Ethiopia and Sudan. There are also various energy projects. All this pertains to our local, regional issues.
But first, I would also like to say that I came here to express my appreciation for the support that we have been receiving as far back as Soviet times.
Moscow is a kind of Mecca for free movements in Africa. Muslims visit Mecca as a religious ritual, while Moscow is a kind of centre that helps various liberation movements. So I am very grateful to you for this.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, Mr President, for your kind words about my nation.
In recent times, Russia has been actively developing relations with our sub-Saharan African friends. Our turnover is growing; it is nearly $4 billion, and in the first 6–7 months of this year it reached about $1.4 billion.
And naturally, I would be very interested in exchanging views with you on the situation in various parts of the African continent. This concerns the situation in the Congo, in Mali, and in other nations, as well as the situation in the Great Lakes region. I know that you give this matter particular attention. With participation by our colleagues, we can now discuss all these issues.