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Russia Ready to Create Space Infrastructure With Uganda: Lavrov on Joint Presser With Odongo

© Sputnik . Alexander Wilf / Go to the mediabankRussian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and Ugandan Foreign Minister Jeje Odongo during a meeting in Moscow, on Thursday, May 18, 2023.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and Ugandan Foreign Minister Jeje Odongo during a meeting in Moscow, on Thursday, May 18, 2023. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 18.05.2023
In July, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made his first visit to Uganda, where he met with Ugandan Foreign Minister Jeje Odongo and was received by President Yoweri Museveni. On Thursday, Lavrov and his Odongo held a joint press conference in Moscow following their bilateral talks.
Moscow has given priority to the development of the partnership with Kampala, which goes back "several decades," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a joint press conference with his Ugandan counterpart Jeje Odongo following their bilateral talks in Moscow on Thursday.

"We expect President [Yoweri] Museveni to participate in the second Russia-Africa summit, which will be held in St. Petersburg at the end of July. I think that today, on the eve of this event, we have a good opportunity to discuss all areas of our cooperation, both within the framework of bilateral cooperation and in the international arena, including regional processes on the African continent," Lavrov said at the start of talks with the Ugandan foreign minister.

The Russian diplomat added that the meeting discussed a more active involvement of Russian economic operators in the implementation of plans that Uganda has drawn up for the development of its oil and gas industry and energy in general.
"We agreed on the Minister's proposal to actively support our business communities in establishing direct contacts, expanding these contacts, and on the government side we will actively prepare the next meeting of the Russian-Ugandan intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation, which is scheduled for this fall," Lavrov said.
The Russian official stressed that Moscow is ready to cooperate with Uganda in various areas of interest to the East African nation, including the creation of additional satellites and civilian space infrastructure, Lavrov said. During the talks, the two ministers signed a joint statement of the countries on not being the first to place weapons in space.

African Initiative for Resolving the Ukrainian Conflict

During the press conference, Lavrov also noted that a mission of African leaders, including Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni, is tentatively planning to visit Russia in mid-June or early July to hold peace talks on settling the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

"As for [South African President Cyril] Ramaphosa's initiative, he actually called President Putin and put forward this idea. The President said that he is always ready to talk to all our partners who are really interested in a stable situation in the world," Lavrov told reporters.

Lavrov noted that the content of such a forthcoming visit is now being discussed at the expert level, with its dates to be "agreed on a generally acceptable basis."

"As I understand, we are now talking about mid-June - early July... We are open to all serious, interested proposals," the Russian Foreign Minister stated.

However, Lavrov noted that some Western countries, including the United States, are clearly "not ready" for any constructive action to resolve the situation in Ukraine now or in the foreseeable future.
"The US is not ready at this stage, nor, in my opinion, in the foreseeable future, to take any constructive action to resolve the situation in Ukraine, which it has been creating for many years - and which it has created within the framework of its strategic course to oppose the objective formation of a multipolar world, to preserve its hegemony, to subjugate everyone and everything to its will. Ukraine is being used as an obedient instrument within the framework of this course," he said.
The building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation in Moscow at sunset. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 18.05.2023
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
Moscow Positive About African Initiative on Ukrainian Settlement, But It Needs to Be Studied
Earlier this week, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said he had spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on behalf of African countries and presented them with a peace initiative for the settlement of the Ukrainian conflict on behalf of Zambia, Senegal, Congo, Uganda, Egypt and South Africa.
Kremlin later confirmed that there were plans to receive an African delegation in mid-Jyne to discuss the matter.
"You know that there was a telephone conversation between Putin and Ramaphosa, very constructive, very lengthy, and, indeed, Ramaphosa said that, of course, Africa, as the largest continent, also considers it necessary to express its voice in international efforts to resolve the well-known situation in Ukraine." "We have already said that we are ready to listen with great attention to any proposals that will contribute to the settlement of the situation in Ukraine," Kremlin representative Dmitry Peskov said.

Grain Deal Extension

Commenting on the recent two-month extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, also known as the Grain Deal, the Russian Foreign Minister said that two months would be decisive for its further fate.

"Considering all the circumstances, taking into account the appeal of our partners, we supported the initiative of President [of Turkiye Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, which he announced yesterday - to extend this agreement for another two months, but with the clear understanding that these two months will be decisive," Lavrov explained.

At the same time, Lavrov noted that the extension of the grain deal has nothing to do with internal political events in Turkiye, including the May 14 presidential election, which is heading toward a runoff scheduled for May 28.
Russia extended the Black Sea Grain Initiative for 60 days. Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzia earlier indicated in his letter to UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths that the following problems should be solved in the context of the gain deal: connecting the Russian Agricultural Bank to the SWIFT system, resuming supplies of agricultural machinery to Russia, lifting restrictions on insurance and access to ports for Russian cargo ships, resuming operation of the Togliatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline, and unblocking the accounts and financial activities of Russian fertilizer companies.
Russia, Ukraine, Turkiye, and the United Nations reached an agreement on July 22, 2022, to provide a humanitarian maritime corridor for ships carrying food and fertilizer exports from Ukrainian Black Sea ports. On March 18, 2023, Russia extended the deal for 60 days until May 18.
The initiative is an integral part of a three-year package agreement between Russia and the UN, which includes the above conditions. According to Moscow, this part of the package has not yet been implemented.