RUSSIANS MARK NATIONAL DAY
REPORT BY: Grace Eyram Dartey
RUSSIANS, ON Sunday, June 12, 2005, marked the 15th Anniversary of the adoption of the declaration of Sovereignty of the Russian Federation.
Speaking at a brief, but impressive reception, to mark the day, in Accra, the Russian Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Orlov, expressed the belief that the commemoration of his country's National Day would further strengthen the already good relationship between Russia and the entire African Continent, to which Ghana is, undoubtedly, included.
To this end, concerted efforts are underway to step up trade and economic links between Russia and the entire African states, south of Sahara.
To realise such a dream, the Russian Federation, he noted, would continue to offer African states broad and effective preferences, in the field of trade, to help contribute to alleviating their debt burdens.
Between 1998 and 2002, for instance, Russia wrote off about 11.2 billion dollars of the debt owed by African countries.
However, between 2003 and the first-half of 2005, the total amount of debts written off by Russia, was $1.5 billion.
The Ambassador was happy to state that Russia has, over the past decade, been able to chalk giant strides, as well as numerous successes in political, social and economic fields.
These successes, he observed, have manifested in the states' positive dynamics of its socio-economic processes.
He expressed the optimism that, by the end of 2010, his country would be able to double its GDP, to enable it move a step ahead of other advanced nations.
"In 2004, GDP increased by 7.1 per cent, thus Russia has surpassed developed nations by economic growth rate.
This economic growth has helped raise people's real incomes, which have risen by 9 per cent, and pensions have increased by approximately 5 per cent", adding that, the financial standing of the nation had improved, significantly.
According to the diplomat, Russia's gold and foreign currency reserve had further exceeded the size of its state foreign debt of about $108 billion.
He commended the government of Ghana for its role in the settlement of conflict situations in the sub-region, and assured it of its limitless preparedness to strengthen the good rapport between the two countries, as well as explore new spheres for prospective joint work for the benefit of Russian and Ghanaian citizens.
Hon Charles Bintin, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, whose speech was read on his behalf, lauded the Russian Federation for its glorious achievements, in helping to bring peace to Africa, as well as its substantial contributions to developing overall strategy toward the settlement of conflicts.
He extended the government's appreciation to the Russian Government for its immense support and commitment to the country's developmental efforts.
He gave the assurance that, the Kufuor Administration would do everything possible to ensure that the good relations between the two countries, is sustained.