Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Sergeev, Director of the Department of International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation at the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly on Agenda item 63: “New Partnership for Africa’s Development: progress in implementation and international support: a) New Partnership for Africa’s Development: progress in implementation and international support; b) Causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa

Unofficial translation

Mr. President,

African countries are facing today difficult tasks associated with internal transformations as well as the need to respond to external challenges, including the shocks on financial and commodities markets, climate change and natural disasters caused by it.

Russia welcomes the efforts of African countries to accelerate economic growth, strengthen political unity and cultural cooperation in the continent and increase the role of Africa in the world affairs. Active participation of African countries in addressing urgent contemporary problems, full integration in the global economic and political system are crucial for successful implementation of the outcomes of the major UN conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields.

We support coordinated measures designed to promote sustainable development of the African continent. We attach a priority importance to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) by actively participating in the agreed steps to provide a comprehensive assistance to NEPAD, both bilaterally and multilaterally.

By now we have already written off the principal debt of the African States – which is more than US $ 20 bln. In the framework of “debt for development”, swap bilateral agreements with Zambia and Tanzania have been singed to use the debt for financing development projects. Preparation is underway for signing similar agreements with Benin, Mozambique and Ethiopia. We made a contribution of US $ 50 mln. to the World Bank Trust Fund to support vulnerable countries, primarily, in sub-Saharan Africa.

Russian humanitarian assistance is provided to the countries of the region including bilateral assistance. The Russian donor contribution to the WFP in 2011 was allocated to assist Ethiopia, Somalia, the Republic of Guinea, Kenya and Djibouti; and through UNICEF assistance was provided to Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea.

Russian food aid was provided to the Republic of Cote-d’Ivoire though the International Civil Defense Organization. A targeted contribution was made to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Fund to strengthen its coordination capacity in the region.

Russia continues to participate in the efforts to support Africa through the G8, the World Bank, other multilateral initiatives.

Social and economic progress and higher living standards in Africa are also promoted by further development of trade and economic relations, as well as investments. The growing number of Russian companies have come to realize that Africa is a continent of tremendous opportunities for business and have started or are expanding their presence in African countries.

The countries of the region enjoy extensive trade preferences. The traditional exports of the least developed countries, most of which are in Africa, are exempt from customs duties.

Russia is participating in the Education for All - Fast-Track Initiative. A decision is being carried out to allocate US $ 42.9 mln. in 2008-2012 to the World Bank Program to improve the quality of basic education in developing countries, including in Africa. Currently, over 8000 African students are studying in Russian universities, and approximately half of them on the Russian Federal Budget scholarships.

Significant assistance is provided to Africa in the public health area. The total amount of our voluntary contribution to the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has reached US $ 100 mln. We pledged to reimburse the Fund’s expenditures on project implementation in Russia for the amount of US $ 217 mln.

Russia attaches great importance to the implementation of the goals of the Decade to Roll Back Malaria. In 2011 we fully paid our contribution of US $ 20 mln. for the implementation of the World Bank Program for Malaria Control in Africa. In 2010 US $ 4 mln. were allocated to similar Global Program of the World Health Organization.

Mr. President,

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russia makes a tangible contribution to the elaboration of a strategic policy and practical measures by the international community for strengthening peace and security in Africa. We participate in the UN peacekeeping operations on the continent. We have expanded training programs for African peacekeepers and law enforcement officers.

We believe that the settlement and prevention of armed conflicts is a key factor in ensuring a safe future for the continent. We support the increasingly active role of the African Union and sub-regional organizations in this regard. We note the efforts to establish the African stand-by force and the African early warning system.

We call for increased partnership between the UN Security Council and the Peace and Security Council of the African Union to settle acute crisis situations. We support continuous development of cooperation in this area between the United Nations and the African Union. The adoption of resolution 2033 by the Security Council has become an important step forward.

To insure a more durable peace on the continent the active involvement of the African states is of highest importance. It is essential to ensure the adoption of measures to combat illicit armed factions, strengthen the good neighborly relations and expand cooperation in order to ensure security of borders and their impregnability to the spillover of conflicts, infiltration of weapons and mercenaries and to prevent mass violations of the international humanitarian law and impunity for crimes against humanity. Russia provides consistent political support to the relevant efforts of the African community and stands ready to further contribute to the strengthening of the intrinsic anti-crisis potential of the African states.

We strongly believe that it is possible to overcome all the barriers on the way to transform the continent into an area of security, stability and sustainable development on the solid basis of international law, African unity and solidarity of the friends of Africa with the peoples of the continent.

Mr. Persident,

Russia welcomes the establishment of a monitoring mechanism under the auspices of the UN General Assembly to review commitments made by all parties towards the development of Africa. We expect that substantial and depoliticized dialogue within that mechanism will help strengthen regional stability and promote favorable conditions for sustainable economic growth.

We are ready on our part to continue to provide a multifaceted assistance with a view to address the acute problems of the continent on the basis of equitable and mutually beneficial partnership.

Thank you.