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Moscow Views Africa as Arena for Cooperation, Not Confrontation, Russian Foreign Ministry Says

© Sputnik / Mikhail Voskresensky / Go to the mediabankThe building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation in Moscow.
The building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation in Moscow. - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.01.2022
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia does not view Africa as an arena of confrontation with other countries and is open to cooperation with African countries, China and the European Union, Vsevolod Tkachenko, director of the Africa Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said on Tuesday.
"We do not see Africa as an arena for confrontation between Russia and anyone else. We see it as a continent where, in cooperation with our African friends and partners, we are open to interaction with all interested parties, including European Union, China and other countries," Tkachenko said.
According to the diplomat, Moscow understands that "many have their own economic and political interests that do not always coincide with the interests of others," however, Russia always stands for fair competition and advocates partnership over confrontation.
The expansion of Russia-Mali cooperation in the military-technical sphere depends on many factors and is being implemented in accordance with current needs, Tkachenko said.
"It [cooperation] depends on many factors. It exists and is being implemented in accordance with current needs and capabilities," Tkachenko said. "We have a long and successful history of cooperation with Mali, including the matters of armaments cooperation. These traditions will be continued. We are assisting Mali in training their military representatives, working on the supply of military-technical products at the request of the Malian government. This is normal practice, proving our readiness to provide the Malians with the necessary assistance in strengthening the potential of their armed forces and fighting ability."
French criticism of the possible cooperation between Malian authorities and a private Russian security company is not constructive and a reaction to something that does not yet exist, Vsevolod Tkachenko said.

“We believe that criticism should be substantive and based on reliable facts or evidence. In this case, it seems to us that the French reaction to the potential relationship of the Malian authorities with Russian private companies providing security services is somewhat exaggerated. A reaction to something that does not yet exist. As it seems to us, this is not the most constructive approach," Tkachenko said.

Moscow has repeatedly denied allegations of the military presence of the Russian Federation in various African countries, in particular, the Kremlin stated that there are no representatives of the Russian armed forces on the territory of Mali. When asked whether the Mali Defense Minister raised the issue of military assistance during his visit to Russia, the press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov replied that Moscow maintains contacts, including through the military, with many countries, including the states of the African continent. In addition, Moscow has repeatedly stated that the country's authorities have nothing to do with the work of private security companies.
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