Address by Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Igor Ivanov at High-Level Special Plenary Meeting of UN General Assembly to Support the New Partnership for Africa's Development Initiative, September 16, 2002
Esteemed Mr. President,
Our debate on today's problems of the African continent is both important and timely. Particularly since in the conditions of globalization, the problems and threats with which Africa is now faced are becoming more and more our common problems and threats.
Therefore, the strategic task for all of us is common: to break the vicious circle "underdevelopment - conflicts - failure of development programs." That is why also so important for all of us is a comprehensive approach to dealing with Africa's key problems: resolving and preventing crises, eradicating poverty, ensuring economic development, and strengthening democracy.
A big stride in terms of the combining of the efforts of African states was the establishment of the African Union. In its framework, emphasis is justifiably being laid on economic and social development with reliance on the time-tested political guidelines of the OAU - respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of states, the rule of international law and of the ideals of democracy and social progress. Russia is ready to lend assistance to the African Union, including through the UN.
We share the desire of the continent's peoples and states to determine their future independently and to assume the main responsibility in questions of peace and security, economic management, the thrifty utilization of natural resources, the fight against corruption and the effective use of development assistance funds. All this has found reflection in the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) policy guidelines.
Russia took a direct and initiating part in the elaboration of the Plan of Action for Africa, adopted at the Group of Eight summit in Kananaskis. This document is oriented towards helping the implementation of NEPAD and towards the areas of partnership in which the G8 can really assist in overcoming the complex challenges facing Africa.
We resolutely support the UN's efforts to help settle armed conflicts in Africa and to deepen cooperation in this field by the United Nations with authoritative international and African regional and sub-regional organizations. At the same time, preventive and peacemaking efforts by African countries themselves should become more effective. We are convinced that it is necessary to help strengthen the regional mechanisms of early crisis warning, prevention and settlement, along with helping form in the continent effective security structures, geared to, among other things, the accomplishment of objectives of post-conflict reconstruction. We expect that the Peace and Security Council, established within the African Union, will contribute to this.
We favor the establishment of a special consultative group on problems of countries which have endured conflicts, in line with the decision of the UN Economic and Social Council. We are ready to actively participate in discussing proposals to foster closer cooperation between the Security Council, ECOSOC and other bodies of the UN system in questions of post-conflict reconstruction in Africa.
Africa's problems are near and understandable to Russia. Our country has provided and will continue to provide many-sided assistance to African states and to expand mutually beneficial cooperation with them. We are in practice helping solve the foreign debt problems of Africa. In 2000 Russia wrote off the debts of poorest - mostly African - countries totaling 572 million dollars, and last year 904 million dollars. Russia will be responsibly helping to overcome this problem in the future as well. We will also continue to participate in humanitarian programs, including the struggle against HIV/AIDS and other dangerous diseases, the elimination of the consequences of natural disasters, and aid in the training of national personnel for African countries.
Our cooperation with Africa is intended for the long term. In this context we are disposed toward the real implementation of the decisions made by the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.
We sincerely wish African countries success in carrying out the extensive tasks facing them. In cooperation with all concerned members of the international community. Russia will do everything in its power for the just aspirations of Africa's peoples to become a reality.
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