The reception was preceded by the official welcoming ceremony for the heads of state and government of the participating countries.
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Speech at gala reception
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends,
First of all, I would like to welcome all participants in the first Russia-Africa Summit and the Russian-African Economic Forum. We are glad that our African colleagues displayed great interest in these events. Delegations of all African countries, over 40 percent of which are represented by top officials, arrived in Sochi. Heads of executive bodies of major African regional organisations are also attending the summit.
I am sure that our joint efforts will provide a powerful impetus to the development of friendly relations between Russia and African nations and will allow us to raise them to a new, more advanced level, relying on strong traditions and long experience of our cooperation.
Russian-African cooperation is based on a rich and eventful history and much in it is linked with the development of independent African countries. Our country resolutely supported Africans in their struggle for independence and sovereignty. Our specialists helped African states overcome poverty and develop their economies. They took part in the construction of industrial, agricultural and social facilities, including hospitals and schools. They also helped Africans create and equip combat-capable forces.
Many Africans studied at our universities. Today, tens of thousands of African students are acquiring a wide variety of professions in Russia. They are getting ready to become engineers, doctors, economists and lawyers, as well as civilian and military experts.
Let me emphasise that Russia intends to continue its active cooperation with African partners based on the principles of equality, friendship and mutual respect. We have always supported and will support the striving of African states to conduct independent policy and resolve African problems themselves.
We will continue doing all we can to facilitate the efforts of our African partners aimed at settling local crises, countering terrorism, extremism, cross border crime and drug trafficking and other current challenges and security threats.
Friends, I am confident that the results of the Russia-Africa summit, the Economic Forum and other meetings and contacts in Sochi will facilitate the further expansion of versatile ties between Russia and African countries.
I would like to suggest a toast to the heads of the delegations of African countries and leaders of African regional organisations that are present here. Let’s drink to the success of our joint efforts to develop full-scale mutually beneficial cooperation, wellbeing, peaceful future and prosperity of our countries and peoples.
Friends, thank you very much for being with us in Sochi in Russia today. Thank you.