Posted by: africanpressorganization | 26 June 2009

Beginning of Russian-Namibian Talks in an Expanded Format





Beginning of Russian-Namibian Talks in an Expanded Format



WINDHOEK, Namibia, June 26, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Beginning of Russian-Namibian Talks in an Expanded Format

PRESIDENT OF REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA HIFIKEPUNYE POHAMBA (as translated into Russian): Mr President, we would like to cordially welcome you and the Russian delegation to Namibia. We are grateful that you have chosen our country as one of the countries that you will be visiting during your visit to the African continent.

The friendship between our two countries spans more than five decades. During the Namibian struggle for freedom and the fight against colonialism, the Soviet Union was one of the first countries to assist us in our noble mission. We have never forgotten and never will forget the importance of the assistance that we received and continue to receive.

Many political party leaders who fought for freedom in Namibia, as well as members of the military forces that fought for the liberation of Namibia from colonialism, received both their military and political education in the Soviet Union. In addition many of our citizens received an education as a result of Soviet aid. These were often young people who were in exile at the time and could not get an education any other way.

Close ties of friendship have bound our peoples in the course of many years of struggle for freedom and independence and of creating our country’s sense of national unity. And we are pleased that these relations have continued and taken on new forms since Namibia gained independence in 1990.

In addition, Mr President, I would like to thank the people of Russia, a country which has once again in the recent past confirmed its status as a friend that is willing to come to the rescue in an emergency.

On behalf of the government and people of Namibia, I would like to express my gratitude for the support that your government provided our nation when our people were greatly affected by flooding during the recent rainy season. At that time Russia sent aircraft filled with the humanitarian aid that we needed so badly. 

Your Excellency, your visit is further confirmation of the exemplary bilateral relations that we have built and maintained between our countries. I believe that today we have an additional opportunity to strengthen our cooperation in various fields, especially in the areas of trade and investment. Our goal is to work more closely together to create economic partnerships.

Namibia welcomes the Russian Federation’s initiative concerning lifting restrictions on basic and critical natural resources that industries in various sectors of the Russian economy need.

Mr President, we would like goods produced in Namibia to have free access to the Russian market, and therefore we sincerely hope that the lifting of restrictions that you have undertaken in respect to goods such as furs and metals, as well as products made from these commodities, would apply to other materials and agricultural products manufactured in Namibia. This would at the same time provide an opportunity to remove the very high tariffs that now exist.

Your Excellency, as a developing economy, Namibia is making every effort to promote industrialisation and to maintain solid economic growth, create jobs and develop the skills of its citizens. In this regard, we look forward to fruitful and close cooperation with the people of the Russian Federation in order to achieve closer cooperation and be able to take advantage of advances your country has made, in terms of know-how and technological achievements as well as in the field of economic management.

Your Excellency, we are deeply gratified that you chose to visit our country and to come here with such a representative delegation. I wish you and your delegation a pleasant and productive stay in our country, Namibia.

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Your Excellency, President of the Republic of Namibia Hifikepunye Pohamba,

It gives me great pleasure to be speaking to you on the first visit of a Russian state leader to Namibia. During our one-on-one talks in restricted format I said that for the visit of the President of the Russian Federation to the African continent we did not choose our destinations arbitrarily. And I believe that the first visit of a Russian president to Namibia should signal a qualitatively new stage in the development of our relations. That is the objective cited in the joint communique that we issued after our talks, the beginning of a new phase of cooperation.

Our nations are linked by a solid history of relations, by more than 40 years of collaboration with the South West Africa Peoples’ Organisation (SWAPO) [ruling political party and former liberation movement in Namibia]. Our relationships are distinguished by an atmosphere of mutual understanding, trust and friendship. We believe that this is a solid foundation for strengthening our business and cultural relations in the years ahead.

We must do everything possible to promote trade and economic ties. You and I talked about this in some detail in restricted format. We discussed the main areas of cooperation, which are particularly relevant in the current situation, keeping in mind the financial crisis. We talked about energy projects, including nuclear power, as well as major investment projects in the mining industry. We talked about the development of agricultural cooperation, including fisheries. We talked about the development of tourism and other important potential areas for cooperation.

A tool that will facilitate our work is the Russian-Namibian  Intergovernmental Commission, which is already active and holds meetings, and this year the Commission will meet one more time.

As far as I understand, the roundtable meeting between our entrepreneurs today will be quite important. Many businesspersons from the Russian Federation are here today, and contacts between our business communities are a good basis for the development of trade relations in general. And I think that this kind of event, this kind of meeting and exchange between our business communities should occur regularly.

Friendly relations like those between our countries should be based on a firm legal foundation. Therefore, it is very important that we expand the regulatory framework of our cooperation. For that reason today we will sign an intergovernmental agreement on the reciprocal encouragement and protection of investments. This is an important document and we will work further to strengthen this legal framework. We also foresee treaties relating to mutual legal assistance, an agreement in the health sector, one between our interior ministries, and other agreements as well. I believe that all these documents will create a solid foundation for the long-term.

In order to further strengthen our relations personal contacts are very important. Today a number of Namibian citizens are enrolled in Russian universities. We do not believe that the current figure is sufficient. We believe that we should further expand this type of training. And let me recall that in the course of our history, including the Soviet period, more than two thousand Namibian professionals received their education in our country, and we are sure that some of them are currently working in very high places.

We talked about cooperation in the international arena. I am sure that this cooperation will continue, especially in light of the fact that we have similar or harmonious positions on major issues on the international agenda. We said that we will strengthen our cooperation, including within the framework of the partnership that binds our countries. We will develop our partnership with Africa as a whole, work together with African regional organisations – the African Union, the Southern African Development Community – and contribute to conflict settlement on the African continent.

I believe that we need to coordinate our efforts on other issues on the international agenda, namely with regards to the reform of the United Nations, the measures that the international community is now taking to create a new global financial architecture, and the provision of food security, something that is especially topical in Africa where millions of people suffer from hunger. We will of course cooperate with our Namibian partners in other areas as well.

Mr President, Namibian friends and colleagues,

I would like to thank Mr President once again for the invitation to make a state visit to Namibia, for the warm welcome, and for providing the development opportunities for our bilateral relations that will be uncovered today.


Russia – Presidency


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