Putin invites African leaders to St Petersburg
Russian president Vladimir Putin has invited African leaders to attend the second Russia-Africa summit in St Petersburg in July, calling the event an opportunity to expand Moscow’s cooperation with nations across the continent.
“I am sure that the second Russia-Africa summit … will make it possible to define new tasks for expanding our country’s constructive cooperation with African partners in the political, trade, economic, scientific, technical, humanitarian and other fields,” Putin said in a statement on Thursday.
The president expressed his congratulations to the African Union (AU) on its 60th anniversary and praised it as an international organization that has been instrumental in promoting “multilateral dialogue and cooperation” for decades.
The Russian leader also praised the union’s collaborative efforts, which, he said, had enabled the creation of systems for collective responses to local emergencies, as well as the initiation of regional integration procedures in various forms.
“Russia has always attached particular importance to strengthening friendly relations with African partners,” Putin said, adding that the first Russia-Africa summit in Sochi in 2019 has strengthened these ties in “many areas.”
That meeting was attended by representatives from 54 African countries, including 43 heads of state.
In March, Putin said the Kremlin was “very seriously” preparing for the upcoming second summit in late July in Russia’s second-largest city, and invited African leaders and regional organizations to attend.