Interview Granted by Russian Foreign Ministry's Official Spokesman A. Yakovenko to RIA Novosti News Agency on Relations Between Russia and Guinea
July 26, 2001
Question: President of the Republic of Guinea Lansana Conte is due to arrive on an official visit to Russia on July 26. In this connection, we ask you to comment on the state of Russian-Guinean relations.
Answer: The relations between Russia and the Republic of Guinea have traditionally been friendly. There has been a regular exchange of messages at the level of heads of state and foreign ministries of the two countries. Consultations are pursued on bilateral and international subject area through the foreign policy departments and embassies in Conakry and in Moscow.
In recent months, Moscow was repeatedly visited by J. R. Delava, special envoy of the President of Guinea, who brought personal messages of the Guinean leader to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Officials in Conakry favor Russia's wider presence in Africa, and continued participation of this country in international efforts to resolve the crisis situations on the African continent.
Question: What is the state of development of the legal basis of relations between Russia and Guinea?
Answer: The contractual and legal basis of Russian-Guinean relations comprises agreements, mainly signed in the Soviet period, such as agreements on economic and technical cooperation (1959, 1968, 1973, 1984), fisheries (1981), air communication (1962), radio and television (1982), cultural exchanges (1959), the Consular Convention (1976) and others.
The intergovernmental Agreement on visaless trips with diplomatic and business passport and the Agreement on cooperation between foreign policy departments in the area of diplomatic archives were signed in January 1998, and the Protocol on interministerial consultations was concluded in November 2000.
Work is going on at present to update and broaden the legal basis for bilateral relations. The two sides are seized with a number of draft agreements on cooperation in different fields, including, among others, the treaty on legal assistance in civil, family and criminal cases.
To establish a solid contractual and legal basis for bilateral cooperation in trade and economics, the sides are drafting agreements on trade, reciprocal encouragement and protection of investments and on avoiding double taxation.
Question: What is the place that trade and economic cooperation occupies in Russian-Guinean relations?
Answer: One observes a positive dynamic in the bilateral trade and economic relations. During the years of cooperation, Russia assisted Guinea in building a bauxite mining plant with the capacity of 3 million tons a year, revamping a railway line, building a university in the capital, a central stadium, a hotel, a radio station and a number of other projects. Russian geologists conducted a survey of a region with an area of 45,000 square km. A highway was built in Conakry. 2,400 hectares of land was developed to grow rice.
In April 2001 there was a meeting in Conakry between co-chairmen of the Intergovernmental Russian-Guinean commission on economic, scientific and technological and commercial cooperation (co-chaired on the Russian side by Minister of Federation Affairs, National and Migration Policy Alexander Blokhin). The two decided on the main areas of bilateral interaction for the near future. The next meeting of the intergovernmental commission is scheduled for September 2001.
Trade in 2000 amounted to over 86 million dollars (including 4 million in export from Russia, and 82 million dollars in import). Russia supplied Guinea with equipment, trucks and dump trucks, other industrial products. Aluminum remains the principal import item.
Over ten Russian commercial entities and joint ventures established with their participation are working in the country.
Question: How is our cooperation developing in other areas?
Answer: Guinea was given substantial assistance in the training of its national cadres. Over 2,000 Guineans were educated in Russia. 40 government scholarships given to Guinean students, were resumed from 1996.
48 Russian instructors are working at the Conakry University and in the Mining and Geological Institute in Boke.