African countries are interested in the Union State as a union of sovereign equal states, Andrei Savinykh, Chairman of the Standing Commission on International Affairs of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus, Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union State of Belarus and Russia, told BelTA on the sidelines of the international parliamentary conference "Russia - Africa" in Moscow.
Andrei Savinykh stressed that Belarus is attending this conference as a full participant. "We are here to present our position on the processes that are taking place in the world. Africa is a region capturing the attention of the world today. Everyone agrees that in the next decade it will turn into the fastest growing region," he said.
According to Andrei Savinykh, the conference brought together delegations of more than 40 African states, about 70 speakers of parliaments. "All of them say that African countries need to finally put an end to neocolonialism, that the colonial system did not really go away because these states were enslaved by economic, financial and trade mechanisms. Today they are looking for new partnerships, new opportunities to ensure their social and economic development. In many respects, they see the Union State as a model of development, when sovereign independent states unite in an union and build a harmonious, fair policy helping and supporting each other, stimulating social and economic growth. We discussed this experience, which is becoming extremely interesting for African states," the MP said.
The Belarusian delegation also uses this conference to conduct bilateral contacts. "I have already met with the delegations of Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya. We discussed the bilateral agenda and topical issues of bilateral cooperation. I think that this is a great opportunity to see so many delegations in one place and give impetus to bilateral relations with the states of the African continent," Andrei Savinykh stated.
He expressed confidence that Belarus and African countries will develop ties. "Contacts will continue. Meetings of this kind, of course, lead to bilateral visits, exchange of delegations. We invite African delegations to participate in our major international economic exhibitions. We are talking about the need to intensify inter-parliamentary cooperation in order to develop the legal framework of bilateral relations. This always involves meetings, exchange of visits, participation in joint events," Andrei Savinykh said.
"African countries show a great interest in Belarus since they need technology, cooperation in education and science. They lack this, and Belarus can offer a very, very active agenda in all these areas," the parliamentarian added.
The international parliamentary conference Russia - Africa is running in Moscow on March 18-20. It gathered delegations from about 40 states of the African continent. The conference is a kind of preparatory event for the second Russia - Africa summit which will be held in St. Petersburg on 27-28 July.