President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin: Mr President, colleagues,
It is a great pleasure to welcome you in the Kremlin. Thank you for finding an opportunity to visit.
I would like to highlight, in the beginning of our meeting, that this year, in October, we mark the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries and I draw attention to the fact that relations between our states are developing in all directions. Unfortunately, the total volume of trade is not large yet, but the growth rates are impressive.
There is naturally a lot of work to do for us, including the regional settlement in Central Africa. We know that Gabon takes the most active part in this, making a significant contribution to this joint work.
Mr President, we are very happy to see you.
President of Gabon Ali Bongo Ondimba (retranslated): Mr President,
First and foremost, let me thank you for the opportunity you provided to me – to see and meet you. I am also grateful to you for the hospitality we have felt since we have been here.
Additionally, I would like to thank you, as your country was one of the first to send greetings after the elections. I would also like to use the opportunity and congratulate you on the same, on your election.
Mr President, I came here to tell you something you already know: Africa needs you. Your country is a huge country, which has enormous capabilities and which can, of course, contribute a lot to the continent.
I am also glad that Russia is not indifferent to the settlement of a conflict that is in direct proximity to us: I am referring to the settlement in the Central African Republic. We have our own contingent in the Central African Republic. Gabon is now chairing the Economic Community of Central African States and this community is directly involved in settling the conflict in the Central African Republic. I think it would be good if we united or efforts to finally establish peace in this country.
Mr President, everyone talks about Africa today, from most various angles. This continent is rich in resources, and we observe how many major states fight each other to gain access to these resources.