Your Excellency Right Honourable Peter Ala Adjetey
Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana,
Honourable Members of the Parliament,
Distinguished Guests, Friends,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I deeply appreciate the invitation to take part in such a momentous event in the sphere of Ghana - Russia bilateral co-operation as today's inauguration of the Ghana - Russia Parliamentary Association. This event constitutes one more step of great importance in the path towards further development of traditionally friendly and cordial relations between our two countries.
It is symbolic that the present inauguration practically coincided with two significant events in the political life of modern Russia. I speak about the recent elections of the deputies of the State Duma and the X-th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of the Russian Federation and that of the Federal Assembly - the parliament of our country - which took place on the 12-th of December. In this connection I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude for the warm congratulatory statement on the latter occasion, delivered by Honourable Okerchiri Kwabena Adusa, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
The parliamentary diplomacy in Russia is considered to be an important integral part of the Russian foreign policy. And both chambers of the Federal Assembly - the Council of Federation and the State Duma - make great job in the sphere of international relations of the Russian Federation, advancing its foreign policy objectives and promoting, together with other state bodies, the positive and true image of Russia in the international arena.
The principal form of the realisation of international agenda of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation are direct ties with parliaments of foreign countries and participation in the activities of the most representative inter-parliamentary organizations. In this connection the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation maintains contacts and co-operate with the parliaments of more than 140 countries and with 13 international and regional parliamentary organizations.
Members of the Federal Assembly take part in the work of such organizations as the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and many others, not to speak about their active participation in the activities of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. I wish to express my strong belief that the development of fruitful co-operation between the Parliament of Ghana and the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation will open new opportunities for Russian parliamentarians in the field of interaction with the African Parliamentary Union and the ECOWAS Parliament.
I would like also to inform you that at present in the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation there are 61 groups of co-operation with the foreign parliaments. Two of them are responsible for Russia - Africa inter-parliamentary contacts. The first one - for co-operation with Middle East and North Africa parliaments and the second - for co-operation with the parliaments of the Sub-Saharan states.
The efforts made by the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation in the African vector of its activities lie within the framework of the general foreign policy of Russia towards the African Continent and are aimed at the expansion of interaction and co-operation with African states.
As far as inter - parliamentary contacts between Russia and African states are concerned, I would like to let you know that in the year 2003 delegations of the State Duma visited four African states: Morocco, Tunisia, Mali and, as you certainly know, Ghana. The parliamentary delegations from South African Republic and Cameroon paid official visits to Russia.
Today I have every reason to say that this year we were witnesses of three major events in the sphere of Ghanaian - Russian co-operation - the visit of the Russian parliamentary delegation headed by the Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Mr. A.Chilingarov, the establishment of Ghana - Russia Business Association and, the last but not the least, the formation of the Ghana - Russia Parliamentary Association. We hope that these important developments will add new dimensions and give strong impetus to the relations between our two countries and that the traditional relationships of friendship and mutual understanding between the Republic of Ghana and the Russian Federation will deepen consistently in the interests of our two nations and for the benefit of peaceful and sustainable development of the African Continent.
Thank you for your kind attention and I wish once more to congratulate you all with the inauguration of the Ghana -Russia Parliamentary Association.