Transcript of Replies to Media Questions by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov Following the Plenary Meeting of the Russian-French Council for Security Cooperation at the Level of Foreign and Defense Ministers, Paris, October 11, 2005
Question: Does Russia intend to participate in crisis management on the African continent?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: We are not talking about crisis management, but about helping Africans in resolving their problems. Efforts being made by Africans through the African Union and sub regional organizations on the continent are becoming ever more effective in peacekeeping, crisis prevention and the development of economic and social cooperation projects. In the Group of Eight, which Russia will chair in 2006, the Africa Initiative has been in place for quite a long time now. It encompasses both assistance in the training of African peacekeepers and support of the efforts of the African Union for normalization in different hot spots or potentially dangerous points on the continent. This initiative envisages substantial economic and financial aid. Of the Group of Eight members and of the Paris Club members, Russia occupies the first place in the amount of written-off and restructured debts against per-capita income, and one of the first, in absolute figures. France is also among the leaders. We agree that Africa is in need of help. In the era of globalization there is no such thing as other people's troubles. The present problems of the African continent, which seemed so remote and not affecting anybody else in the world, today give rise to such phenomena as extremism, terrorism, and the spread of instability generally. On these issues, we have common positions with France: we support the French initiatives for Africa and try to take into account the approaches of Paris, bearing in mind the fact that France has a richer experience of communication with Africa.