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African state seeking cooperation with Moscow in energy sector – Russian envoy

Negotiations with the Central African Republic are underway, according to Aleksandr Bikantov

The Central African Republic (CAR) is keen on expanding cooperation with Russia in the energy sector, Aleksandr Bikantov, Moscow’s ambassador to Bangui, said in an interview with RIA Novosti published on Sunday.

The comments followed reports that negotiations are taking place between Russia and the CAR regarding the supply of 30,000 metric tons of combustible fuel to the African state.

Bikantov said a wide range of issues of bilateral cooperation were discussed on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) last month by a delegation led by CAR Prime Minister Felix Moloua.

“The topic of interaction in the fuel field was also touched upon. Our partners confirmed their interest in intensifying dialogue in this area,” the diplomat told RIA Novosti.

Relations between Moscow and Bangui have become closer in recent years after the CAR’s president, Faustin-Archange Touadera, met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in 2017. During that meeting, the officials agreed on strengthening ties between their countries in sectors such as trade, economics, and cultural exchange, as well as exploring partnerships in mineral resources and energy.

In March, Moscow hosted an official meeting between Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksey Overchuk and CAR Prime Minister Moloua, during which both countries agreed to strengthen humanitarian cooperation, agribusiness, and education.

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Bikantov also mentioned in March that plans were underway to build a Russian military base in the former French colony, which has been plagued by violence and instability for decades. On Sunday, the envoy stated that the defense ministries of both countries are still in talks, but “there is no substantive discussion of the time and place of its deployment.” 

There are already around 1,890 Russian instructors, including military specialists of various profiles, in the CAR to train the national police and soldiers, the diplomat said earlier this year. He added that the African nation’s authorities had requested an increase in this number.

July 01, 2024 at 08:15PM

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