President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, friends,
I am really delighted to welcome you once again to Russia. In May 2018, we had an extensive meeting on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. Today, Mr President, we would like to thank you for being able to take part in the first Russia-Africa Summit.
I know that you have already visited Sochi, and I hope you like it here.
The Central African Republic is Russia’s promising partner on the African continent. As we know, Russia was among the first countries to recognise the independence of your state by establishing diplomatic relations with it. Next year, we will be marking the 60th anniversary of these significant milestones in our interstate history.
Our countries maintain friendly relations. At certain stages, between 150 and 200 specialists from this country worked in your country.
We welcome your desire to expand diverse cooperation with Russia. We realise that, as a national leader, you face the difficult tasks of overcoming the consequences of a protracted military-political and socioeconomic crisis. In turn, we will do our best to support your efforts to stabilise the situation in the country and to strengthen mutually beneficial trade and economic, cultural and humanitarian ties.
Regarding trade and economic relations, we, of course, still have to accomplish a lot here. Good prospects are opening up here, including those in the field of agriculture, energy, industrial equipment supplies, and so on and so forth.
We need to think of how to completely activate the economic potential of our states. I suggest compiling a list of promising joint projects that can be implemented and exchanged. Based on this document, we will be able to look for our economic operators, Russian companies interested in working in your country.
The most important task is to streamline the contractual legal framework and to create favourable conditions for investment and for Russian business operations.
I believe that we will be able to discuss all these matters during our meetings today, including those on the sidelines of the summit and in an informal setting.
Thank you very much.
President of the Central African Republic Faustin Archange Touadera (retranslated): Mr President, my dear friend, ladies and gentlemen,
First, I would like to thank you, Mr President, for the honour of being invited to the first Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, accorded to my country and me, and for this meeting which we will use to discuss our cooperation.
I also want to thank you on behalf of the people of the Central African Republic, as well as on behalf of its government, for the excellent quality of our friendly relations and cooperation, which are enriched every day with the specific actions that you take with regard to the Central African Republic.
Russia has provided enormous assistance to the Central African Republic in the military sphere, contributed to training soldiers for the Central African Republic’s armed forces, to modernising the Central African army, and to training gendarmes and police. On September 14, 2019, Russia completed the delivery of the second batch of weapons to the Central African Republic, which covers our small arms needs in full. We hope that Russia will continue to train our personnel, train officers for our army, including at Russian military academies.
We also expect our Russian partners to supply us with lethal weapons with a calibre of over 14.5 mm, as well as armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, mortars and other artillery weapons, which will help us strengthen our defence and security forces. We asked the Russian Defence Ministry to train four helicopter pilots and helicopter maintenance specialists. The resolution on easing the arms embargo, which was adopted by the UN Security Council on September 12, based on the French project, is insufficient, as our needs for small arms were met after we received the second batch of Russian weapons. We need heavier weapons to build effective forces in the CAR. Illegal armed groups smuggle such weapons.
It turns out that the sanctions imposed in 2013, when there was no legal government in the Central African Republic, are now directed against the legitimate authorities, because illegal groups receive heavy weapons illegally, bypassing the embargo. So, we cannot regain control over our entire country.