Statement for the Press Following Talks with Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo 2001-03-06 00:00:54 The Kremlin, Moscow Vladimir Putin: The Russian Federation, like the former Soviet Union, has always attached great significance to promoting its relations with the African continent. Nigeria occupies a special place among African countries. It is one of the largest and most powerful countries in Africa. Its head of state is a recognised leader not only on the continent, but in the whole world. We very much hope that the meetings we had today will benefit not only bilateral relations, but promote the relations between Russia and the whole of the African continent. It is precisely because Nigeria is very active in peace-keeping activities in Africa and is exerting efforts to promote political and economic integration that we have long been coordinating our efforts in the international arena. Today, too, we devoted a considerable amount of time to discussing the ways to improve the activities of international institutions, most notably, the United Nations. Both my counterpart and I are convinced that the UN has been and must remain the leading organisation that ensures international security. And its activities must correspond to the geopolitical realities of the world today. We have devoted some time to discussing bilateral relations. As my colleague has said, today will see the first meeting of the Inter-Governmental Trade and Economic Commission. An agreement on cooperation in the sphere of science and culture for the next three years will be signed. In the economic field, special attention will be paid to joint work in prospecting for minerals and energy resources in Nigeria. Concrete projects will be discussed, including the completion of the building of a metallurgical complex in Nigeria. Joint activities in the sphere of high technology and the launching of several satellites to be used by Nigeria for environmental monitoring and remote sensing of the Earth are being contemplated. Another issue that will be considered is cooperation in the sphere of agriculture, especially the production of farm produce for the Russian market. Mr President has paid due attention to possible development of relations in the cultural sphere. I would like once again to express satisfaction with the character and the result of the negotiations, and to thank Mr President and his entire team for accepting our invitation.