By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh
Concretely aiming at strengthening further mutual bilateral parliamentary relations, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko headed a delegation of Russian senators on a reciprocal visit from May 30 – June 01 to Maputo, Mozambique. The Chairman of the Federation Council delivered speeches to the deputies of the Assembly of the Republic of Mozambique and had a separate meeting with the Russia-Mozambique Parliamentary Friendship League.
Since the Soviet times and at all stages of history, Russia and Mozambique have been seen as “reliable and time-tested” partners in Africa. “Russia has always provided assistance to Mozambique and it keeps doing so. We are pleased to see your success in economic and social development. We note with satisfaction the steady development of the political dialogue,” Matviyenko said at a meeting with the Speaker of Mozambique Assembly Esperança Bias.
While talking about the Russia-Ukraine crisis, she reiterated that Russia is ready for signing agreements to establish peace with Ukraine. “Its key term was that Ukraine would remain an off-bloc, neutral state, like Austria for example, that it would be a non-nuclear state. Ukraine advanced its own conditions. But, regrettably, those who exercise external control did not let sign this agreement,” she added.
In spite of rising prices for agricultural products, Russia is ready to supply food and fertilizers abroad, but sanctions hampered these, according to Matviyenko, explaining that due to the factor of logistics Russia is unable to supply agricultural fertilizers on time and make full delivery. “The logistics are broken. Russia is unable to supply agricultural fertilizers to countries in need on time and in full. We are ready to fulfil our duties, but the imposed restrictions hinder us from doing it. Russia is still ready to supply food, wheat, and other types of food, but it is impossible to enter ports and so on,” she said.
Further during the conversation, a number of issues relating to the bilateral cooperation in the international arena, the most significant projects of Russian-Mozambique cooperation and the role of parliaments in their implementation were touched upon. A number of topics on the African agenda that are important for the two countries were also discussed.
She expressed satisfaction with the dynamic development of inter-parliamentary relations, the legal basis of which was the protocol on the development of inter-parliamentary cooperation between the Federation Council and the Assembly of the Republic of Mozambique.
“Today, we will take a new important step towards strengthening the legal framework and sign a full-fledged Agreement on inter-parliamentary cooperation between the Federation Council and the Assembly of the Republic of Mozambique that meets modern realities. This will allow us to bring our inter-parliamentary contacts to a higher level, and open up broad prospects for the exchange of experience in legislative activity,” Matviyenko emphasized.
According to the Federation Council Speaker, it is necessary to expand the scope and forms of cooperation between the legislators of the two countries and suggested establishing direct contacts between the relevant committees of the parliaments of Russia and Mozambique. For this purpose, the legislators proposed the possibility of improving the legal framework of bilateral relations.
The meeting thoroughly examined aspects of legislative activity within the context of combating terrorism and laundering of illegally acquired capital, as well as cooperation in trade, economic and investment fields with the conviction that not only large but also medium and small enterprises have good opportunities to strengthen economic ties.
The topic of digital transformation and the introduction of new technologies were touched upon. “We are ready to work together with our Mozambican colleagues to exchange experience in these and other areas of the digital agenda,” said Matviyenko.
The Speaker invited the Chairman of the Assembly of the Republic of Mozambique to participate in the upcoming International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg. As part of the visit, a ceremony was also held to hand over Russian charitable assistance to Mozambican children. This is children’s sports uniform, items for creative work and sweet gifts – as the future of both countries depend on investments in children’s education and upbringing.
The Russian delegation comprises Konstantin Kosachev, Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation; Grigory Karasin, Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs; Andrey Kutepov, Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Economic Policy and Andrey Shevchenko, Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Federal Structure, Regional Policy, Local Government and Northern Affairs.
The rest are Alexander Varfolomeev, First Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Social Policy; Irina Rukavishnikova, First Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building; Yuri Valyaev, Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Defence and Security; Mukarby Ulbashev, Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on the Budget and Financial Markets; and Liudmila Skakovskaya, Member of the Federation Council Committee on Science, Education and Culture.
After the bilateral talks saw the signing of a communique between the Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation Agreement between the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and the Assembly of the Republic of Mozambique. This document will lay the foundation for long-term inter-parliamentary cooperation, promote mutually beneficial ties, and develop the entire range of bilateral relations. The agreement also reflects plans for the future development of inter-parliamentary contacts.
According to Esperança Bias, it is gratifying to realize that bilateral relations are developing not only in the political but also in the economic field. She expressed satisfaction that the Russian campaigns could be represented in Mozambique.
“Our relationship dates back to the period when Mozambique was fighting for independence. Even after we gained independence, Russia has always been by our side. These relations are obvious in different areas,” Bias stressed. She thanked Matviyenko and her delegation for visiting Mozambique, and finally described the visit as a sign “Russia is always with Mozambique and Mozambique is always with Russia.”
Reports indicate that Russia, at the moment, is preparing for the second Russia-Africa summit, but the dates will be determined in cooperation with the African Union. The first Russia-Africa summit was held in Sochi on October 23-24, 2019. It was co-chaired by the presidents of Russia and Egypt, Vladimir Putin and Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.