President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, friends,
I am very happy to meet with you.
First of all, I would like to express my condolences in connection with the lives lost in a traffic accident and a plane crash in your country. These are always tragic events.
Speaking about our relations, I must say from the start that we view the Democratic Republic of the Congo as one of our most promising partners in Africa, on the African continent. It has substantial trade and investment potential. We know this potential is linked with rich natural resources and the capabilities of your people.
Russian-Congolese cooperation is constructive and based on mutual respect. In the very first months of your independence in 1960, the Soviet Union rendered significant assistance to the government of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba. He is a truly legendary man, a legendary fighter for the liberation of African nations from colonialism. He was well known in this country and enjoyed enormous popularity and support among the Soviet people.
Next year we will celebrate the 60th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. Nonetheless, our current meeting is the first contact between our countries at the top level.
Mr President, I am convinced that your visit to Russia will help step up our ties in all areas.
Our trade is still small in absolute figures, but in 2018 it increased by 45 percent. We see good prospects in ore mining. We hope our companies that are interested in working in your country receive support. We are ready to work in other areas as well, for instance, transport engineering and infrastructure. I hope we will now talk about this in more detail.
I would like to thank you for coming to Sochi today.
President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo (retranslated): Thank you very much, Mr President.
On behalf of the delegation that is accompanying me – it includes many ministers from my government, as well as experts from our Cabinet and advisers – I would like to thank you for the exceptionally warm welcome that was accorded to us. We are very pleased with the accommodations. Many thanks from the bottom of my heart for the honour you are extending to us.
I also wanted to thank you in person, because I know that, via your ambassadors, you were the first world leader to congratulate me on taking office. This serves to confirm that, as you say, you were with us in the first hours of our independence, and this is also proof that you will never stop supporting us. You know, it was the first such transition in terms of elections in our country.
Thank you very much for your efforts at the UN. Every time the Security Council reviews issues on its agenda, Russia invariably supports our country’s official position. We would like this practice to continue. That is why we came to Russia. We would like to emphasise the relations between our countries.
You mentioned investment, which should grow. We came to Russia so that your country would take even more interest in making additional efforts with us to develop our country.
Our programme is aimed primarily at the Congolese people, and we want our people to be able to feel certain progress and evolution, because people are also a development tool. If we do not think about the people, nothing will work. First, we must think about health, education and employment, since the people should contribute to growing our wealth.