Slow But Irreversible Evolution’: Congolese FM on AU Joining G20 and Why It Took So Long

Exclusive For the first time, the African Union will take part in the next G20 summit as a member and not as an observer — Sputnik discussed the significance of this event, as well as other topics, with the head of diplomacy of the Republic of Congo. The African Union’s admission to the G20 took a long time, but it was inevitable, Jean-Claude Gakosso, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Congo, said in an interview with Sputnik. “Well, in fact, it’s a slow but irreversible evolution. Recognizing what African peoples represent wasn’t always obvious. You know, the tragedy of humanity has been the ignorance of some by others. For centuries, due to a lack of knowledge, it was believed that certain people had no brains, no souls. But in the 20th century, thanks to the progress of science and medicine, we realized that we’re all made from the same clay; we’re one single human race,” he said. This awareness has led to the modern practice of including Africa in all significant assemblies and forums that determine global policies, of which the G20 is a prime example, according to Gakosso. “We have applauded and are grateful to all the countries that contributed to bringing Africa into the G20, so that this part of the world can have a voice and express itself uniquely,” he added. Speaking about international organizations and Africa’s participation in them, it was impossible not to recall the UN Security Council, or more precisely, the need for its reform so that the voices of the continent are heard. Gakosso reminded that currently, around 60% of security matters on the body’s agenda involve the African continent. Hence, it’s clear that these issues can’t be addressed at the United Nations without an African representative. Moreover, this is the same mindset that recognizes how the world has changed and acknowledges the emergence of new actors on the global stage, he highlighted. “Everything has changed, and this reality must be taken into account. Moreover, for us humanists, this approach reflects human fraternity. Human fraternity — I don’t know if there’s a value higher than that,” the diplomat said, wrapping up this part of the interview. Moving on, Sputnik discussed the African republic’s interaction with Russia in the fields of energy and education. Last week, the Russian state corporation Rosatom signed memoranda of cooperation with Brazzaville in the field of the peaceful use of nuclear energy and in the field of hydropower. The Congolese top diplomat explained that his country turned to Russia to resolve its energy issues since diplomatic and economic relations between the countries have lasted for 60 years and Russia is a “friendly nation” for Congo, while Rosatom is a “reputable company.” “One of the major problems we are facing in the Republic of Congo, and generally across the continent, is the energy deficit. […] Our country is dotted with waterways, giving us immense potential in this area. Thus, we considered cooperation in the micro-dam sector and initiated talks during our visit to Moscow and St. Petersburg with Rosatom. […] The discussions took place at the highest level, between President Vladimir Putin and President Denis Sassou-Nguesso,” Gakosso said. What’s also important is that, in the future, Congo may begin to export electricity outside the country. And although it’s too early to talk about it at the moment, the country’s potential is so great that the entire continent could be powered by Congolese electricity, according to the speaker. “Thus, there is an excellent potential for abundant electricity production in Africa in the coming years,” he said. Regarding the second topic, Gakosso stated that education is the “foundation of everything,” and Russia has been contributing to its development in Africa since the 1960s. He also recalled that thousands of Africans received their education in the “great nation” of Russia, for which the minister is very grateful. However, he touched upon the issue of outdated university programs in some African countries, which sometimes still follow the French curriculum from the mid-20th century, prioritizing the humanities. “I’m not saying that these sciences are not needed by society, not at all. But it is evident that today’s development needs should prioritize fields such as electrical engineering, construction, mechanical engineering, and new communication technologies,” Gakosso emphasized. He also noted that the continent should develop not only on its own but also in relations with friendly countries. “It also needs to build economic power. All that is needed for this … is precisely well-trained, well-educated executives, equipped to meet the new demands of development,” he said. And Russia can help Africa with this, as it has “proven that it has very good universities” and is “welcomed” on the continent, the top diplomat concluded.

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‘Have They Gone Crazy?’: Putin Talks on Peace Meeting on Ukraine, Sanctions and National Security

On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the second day of his visit to China, took part in the opening ceremonies of the eighth Russian-Chinese EXPO and the fourth Sino-Russian Forum on Interregional Cooperation in Harbin and held the press conference, summarizing the state visit. In the Ukraine conflict, Russia will proceed from the real conditions on the ground when resolving the issue; it will not be possible to impose anything on Moscow in terms of negotiations, Putin said at a press conference following his visit to China. “We were ready to discuss, then they discarded it, wanting to gain an advantage on the battlefield and achieve a strategic position. Well, now here are our conditions. Have they gone crazy? Why would we? Undoubtedly, we will base our actions on the realities on the ground,” he said. The president pointed to China as a stakeholder that was sincerely trying to put an end to the conflict in Ukraine, adding that and his Chinese counterpart shared about his recent trip to Europe and his position on peace initiatives. “We believe that China is sincere about its efforts to solve this problem. It has suggested different options and has been very flexible about it,” Putin said. In addition, in his conversation with journalists, the Russian leader touched upon the impact of anti-Russian sanctions, the possibility of sending military troops from Western countries to Ukraine and, last but not least, the issue of the legitimacy of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose five-year presidential term officially ends on May 20. Presidential elections in Ukraine were to take place on March 31, 2024, and the inauguration of the newly elected head of state would take place in May. However, the elections were canceled due to martial law and general mobilization. Zelensky stated that elections now are “not the right time,” emphasizing that this issue should be put to rest. More statements from Russian President Putin made at the press conference: Russia wants to understand whom it can trust before engaging with partners on the Ukrainian conflict; “We must understand with whom and how we can engage and whom and to what degree we can trust. We are of course analyzing everything that is going on,” Putin told reporters. In the matter of resolving the Ukrainian crisis, Russia will not allow ultimatums to be presented to it; Russia will not discuss formulas about which it knows nothing, but Moscow has never refused negotiations on Ukraine; there is a basis for the negotiation process – the Istanbul agreements of 2022; “We have a framework for negotiating process, which is what we agreed on in Istanbul … The head of the Ukrainian delegation signed up to that long document. He initialed it. We have a document with his signature on it,” the president said. WATCH: Full Putin’s answer to a question about Ukrainian issues in the context of negotiations with Xi Jinping in China Formulas for peace in Ukraine based on wishes and not on the real situation cannot be discussed; “First they tried to deal a strategic defeat but failed. Any attempt to force [Russia’s] hand will have the same result,” the president warned. Russia is “not seen” at the peace conference on Ukraine in Switzerland. “If it is not seen – so be it”; “They do not invite us. Moreover, they say that they do not see us there,” Putin said at a press conference. There are no plans to take Kharkov as of today; the military’s actions in the region are in response to the shelling of Belgorod; “As for Kharkov, there are no such plans as of today,” Putin told a press conference, when asked about Russia’s plans regarding the city. Zelensky’s legitimacy matters to Russia if “fateful” documents have to be signed; “To a certain extent, he was also involved in our contacts with foreign partners through military-technical cooperation, because the military-technical service, the federal service, was under the Ministry of Defense, he actually headed it. Therefore, he will have his work cut out, it is all combined together,” Putin said. First, Russia needs to understand whether French troops will be in Ukraine, and then consider courses of action; “I am not the French president, I do not make decisions … First, you will get an answer to your question: if there will be troops there or not. And then we will consider the possible consequences of this step,” Putin noted. Russia intends to concentrate administrative resources to achieve the results it needs within the scope of conducting the special operation; The Ukraine Peace Forum in Switzerland is an attempt to impose conditions on Moscow; it will fail, as will the attempt to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia. “It is clear what this event is all about: bringing together as many countries as possible to claim that they have everything agreed on and then giving Russia an ultimatum,” Putin said, adding he would not have it.

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Putin Says BRICS, SCO ‘Key Pillars of Emerging Multipolar World Order’

In April, Morocco allowed another Chinese electric battery manufacturer, BTR New Material Group, to establish a plant, which will produce key component cathodes near the northern industrial zone, Tanger Tech, according to the report. Apart from this, Chinese company, CNGR Advanced Material, is also planning to set upt a cathode plant in Jorf Lasfar, located 100 kilometers south of Morocco’s city of Casablanca, as per the media. The government has reportedly set aside 283 hectares for electric battery industries in this area. “The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS have well established themselves as key pillars of the emerging multipolar world order,” Putin said. “They have come to be reputable and dynamic international platforms whose participants build constructive political, security, economic and humanitarian interaction.” The Russian president said Moscow and its partners “actively contributed to launching multilateral associations and mechanisms that are independent of the West and are successfully operating,” adding that they work to “build on the principles of equality, justice, transparency, respect and consideration of each other’s interests.” Putin added that Moscow and Beijing have “similar or coinciding positions on key issues on the international agenda” and advocate “for the primacy of international law, equal, indivisible, comprehensive and sustainable security at both the global and regional level with the UN’s central coordinating role.” Both Russia and China also reject the West’s “attempts to impose an order based on lies and hypocrisy, on some mythical rules of no one knows whose making.” The leader highlighted that Russia’s and China’s performance against the backdrop of economic turmoil in the West confirms that the sovereign course chosen is the right one. The Problem With the West & Ukraine The Russian president noted that the West turns a blind eye to the fact that Ukraine is carrying out terrorist acts on the territory of Russia. Ukraine and its Western patrons are not ready for equal, honest and open dialogue, he added. The main problem of negotiations on Ukraine is the reliability of guarantees, as the West prefers a world order not based on international law, Putin said. He stressed that Western elites are trying to “punish” Russia, isolate and weaken it, embezzle its assets. The head of state underlined that Russia and its partners are not satisfied with the state of affairs in the world when the West does not allow other nations to choose with whom to cooperate. He emphasized that Western countries, led by the US, refuse to respect civilizational and cultural diversity and are resorting to neocolonial methods to ensure their own well-being at the expense of other countries.

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President Putin Nominates Candidates for Senior Defense, Security Posts in Russian’s New Government

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Last week, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed a letter of resignation for his cabinet, including himself, after the inauguration ceremony of President Vladimir Putin, according to the government press service. The constitution gives Putin two-weeks to propose a new cabinet to parliament. Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed candidates for the new cabinet’s ministers of defense and foreign affairs, as well as chiefs of top security agencies, Russia’s Federation Council said on Sunday. “The Federation Council has received the list of candidates proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin for the positions of heads of a number of federal ministries and agencies,” the upper house said. The Russian leader proposed reappointing: Sergey Lavrov as foreign minister; Vladimir Kolokoltsev as interior minister; Alexander Kurenkov as minister for emergency situations. At the same time, Sergei Shoigu will leave the post of the Russian defense minister to be replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov. “Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree ‘On the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation’ … to appoint Sergey Shoigu as the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation,” the Kremlin said. In the Russian law enforcement and security agencies, Viktor Zolotov was endorsed to continue heading the Russian National Guard, Dmitry Kochnev to remain chief of the Federal Protection Service (FSO) and Alexander Bortnikov as the chief of the Federal Security Service (FSB). Sergey Naryshkin will also remain the head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service.

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Highlights of Vladimir Putin’s Speech at Parade in Honor of Victory in World War II

On May 9, Russia commemorates the anniversary of the Red Army’s triumph over Nazi Germany, which marked the end of fighting on the Eastern Front during World War II, also known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War. On May 8, 1945 (or May 9, Moscow time), Nazi Germany signed the Instrument of Surrender in Berlin. On Thursday, Russia celebrated the 79th anniversary of the victory. The central event of the holiday is the Victory Parade, which takes place on Red Square in the Russian capital of Moscow. During the parade, the country’s President and Commander-in-Chief of its armed forces, Vladimir Putin, traditionally addressed the people of Russia. Sputnik Africa collected key points from his speech. Putin began his speech by congratulating the parade participants on Victory Day, which he called a “sacred holiday,” adding that it unites all generations. He once again underscored that Russia will always remember and will never forget the common struggle and alliance in the fight against Nazism. Furthermore, Russia honors the bravery of all soldiers of the anti-Hitler coalition, Putin said, adding that the country has never underestimated the importance of the Second Front during the war years and will always remember and never forget the common struggle and traditions of the alliance in the fight against Nazism. Russians bow their heads to the fallen veterans of the Great Patriotic War and comrades who fell in the fight against Nazism, Putin continued, adding that together they will be able to ensure a free and safe future for Russia. The Russian leader criticized Western countries, accusing them of trying to distort the truth about World War II since it interferes with those who build colonial policy on lies. He added that revanchism, mockery of history and justification of Nazism are part of the general policy of Western elites. Russia also rejects the claims of any state or alliance to exclusivity, as history has shown what the exorbitance of such ambitions leads to. Furthermore, Putin pointed out that Russian strategic forces are always on alert and will not allow anyone to threaten the country, but the country will do everything to prevent a global conflict. The head of state also touched on the topic of the Russian special military operation. He called all of its participants heroes, saying that “all of Russia is with them.” At the same time, Putin pointed out that Russia is going through a difficult, transitional period, and the fate of the homeland and its future depends on each of us.

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