President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Ladies and gentlemen,
President of Namibia Mr Pohamba and I have concluded our talks. I would like to say that the talks were quite productive, were held in a friendly atmosphere, and confirmed our desire to cooperate in every sphere.
Mr President recalled his first visit to Moscow when Namibia was still fighting for its independence, and shared his thoughts on how our country has been progressing. I am confident that my visit to Namibia last year also helped consolidate our partnership and expand the opportunities our countries have for the development of multifaceted relations.
We have just made steps today aimed to build upon the results of my visit [to Namibia] by signing a number of documents. Still, that is merely a fraction of the overall efforts. The point to be specifically noted is the continuing active consultations on our major projects in energy, transportation, and the exploitation of mineral resources. I would like to particularly single out the idea of joint development of uranium deposits as one of the main areas of cooperation.
Our countries have made certain progress on all these issues since my visit to Namibia. Some agreements are already very close to being finalised. We are also ready for the launch of construction of two hydroelectric power plants in Namibia. This project is extremely important given the energy deficit in Southern Africa, as we just discussed at our expanded format talks.
Other possibilities include building a plant for the production of mineral fertilizers, and promoting cooperation in transport sector. We specifically discussed today the renovation of the rail connection between Walvis Bay and Tsumeb, a project which could be taken up by our Russian Railways joint stock company. Respective negotiations are under way and we are now expecting a technical specification and a feasibility study from our Namibian partners.
There is also a number of other areas of cooperation which is not limited to economic ties only. As I said to Mr President, we are ready to cooperate in tourism and education too. We remember that many of our Namibian friends were educated in the Soviet Union or Russia, and they now hold quite senior posts which, of course, gives us particular pleasure; we remember how we were warmly welcomed in Namibia, how many officials there recalled the years they spent in our country.
I believe that the bilateral historic capital, the heritage our countries have accumulated, should in no circumstances be lost, because it is a natural advantage in our relationship which facilitates solving various tasks. Therefore, we are ready now to provide diverse assistance to the University of Namibia. Russia grants some government scholarships and over a hundred Namibian students are enrolled at Russian universities at the moment. If our Namibian partners wish so, we may further expand these areas of cooperation. We are also considering a possibility of assisting the University of Namibia by sending Russian lecturers to teach there and by supplying laboratory equipment.
Our [Namibia-Russia] Intergovernmental Commission [on Trade and Economic Cooperation] is making an important contribution to the development of our cooperation. Just ahead of our meeting, our talks, the 4th session of that commission was held and we are satisfied with the contacts within its framework. We also believe that the coordination currently under way should spur the development of business cooperation in all respects.
Let me note that for Russia Namibia is a favoured partner as far as the preferential opportunities are concerned under government guarantees in line with the documents we have signed. I believe that such opportunities must be used as they benefit our countries and, of course, promote the economic development of Namibia.
Our approaches to key international issues are similar, or very close, or coincide. Mr President and I exchanged views, particularly on the situation in Africa and the Middle East, which is a very complicated region. We are certainly interested in contributing to the settlement of regional conflicts on the African continent through peacemaking. Our countries stand for the active strengthening of the core role of the United Nations, as well as the improvement of this organisation including its Security Council. We believe this should be based on the international laws applicable to the activities of the UN and other international organisations.
We celebrated a significant date in March: the 20th anniversary of the proclamation of independence by Namibia and of almost simultaneous establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries. I am convinced that this visit by President Pohamba in this anniversary year will make its contribution to our cooperation, will give further impetus to the development of friendly relations between our countries, and will undoubtedly take these relations to a higher level. Again, I welcome my colleague, President Pohamba, in the Russian Federation.
President of Namibia Hifikepunye Pohamba: Ladies and gentlemen,
One cannot make a comment on the discussions without touching the historical background of the relations between the Namibian people and the Russian people. With exception perhaps of the young Russians, the Russian people of my age and those of the older age and of that following our age know very well that the people of this great country made fantastic contribution to the struggle for the liberation of Namibia. It is no longer a secret that the war that we waged in our country for the liberation of our country was waged, among others, with AK47s, made here and supplied to us free of charge by the people of this country. Not only that. Food and other supplies came from this country, to the fighting people of my country. We used AK47s effectively. And it is the AK47 that has brought about our independence. So we, whenever we come to Moscow or any part of the Russian Federation, always must express our thanks to the people of this great country for the assistance that they have given to the people of my country. From day one of our independence, more than 20 years ago, Namibia and the Russian Federation established diplomatic relations, an old country with a new member state that is Namibia. From that time, we entered into a new relationship. It is no longer supplying AK47s alone, but involving together in economic interactions between the two countries. When we come here, we come to our friends, far from our country.
Yes, the President of the Russian Federation has said it all. Do I need to repeat it, because what he said is what has taken place during our visit to this great country. All, perhaps, that I want to emphasise is the strengthening of the economic relations between the Russian Federation and our country. Namibia has a lot to offer. And undoubtedly, the Russian Federation has a lot to offer to Namibia. We are a country with a lot of resources. But admittedly, the resources are not properly exploited, because of some weaknesses on our part.
We don’t have skilled people. Our people were denied education, and the agreement that has been mentioned by the President covers the field of education. It covers the field of education, we want our people to come to this great country, to further receive education. I used the word further deliberately. We have some of my colleagues occupying very important positions in our government who are in my delegation, who have received their education here. I have Doctor Mpenyan, Ambassador Kamati, just to mention a few. All those people have received their education here. And there are many. And they are playing very important role in the development of my country.
Hence, among other things, we want you Mr President, to assist us, to assist us further more in our need for the human development that can only be done if you have skilled people. We want you to continue assisting us in this particular field. If it is done, then we will be able to stand on our own.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you have heard about — and you have even seen it — when our ministers were here signing these documents. These are documents that need implementation by our ministers. And I have no doubt that we will be able to implement what we have signed here.
In conclusion I wanted to say to the people of the Russian Federation: thank you very much for your assistance. Thank you very much for the assistance that you continue to give.
I think this is also a golden opportunity for me to express our anger. We express our anger for the terrorists or against the terrorist attack against the people of this country. I am referring to the metro attack that was done by the terrorists. We condemn that in the strongest terms. Yes, already we have sent our message of sympathy and the condolences to the President, but I wanted to say it, I wanted to say it while I am in the Russian Federation, that that attack has angered us, and we condemn it. And I want the condemnation of Namibia again to come from the Kremlin, where we are now, that Namibia condemns that attack. Any attack by terrorists wherever it occurs, we condemn it.
Once again, Mr President, I thank you very much for extending an invitation to me. We are happy, very, very happy in the Kremlin, where we are accommodated. Thank you very much.