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Africans 'Expect a Lot From Russia' in Security Dimension: Ethiopia's Ambassador

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Flag of Ethiopia - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 30.06.2023
Earlier, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that Russia and Ethiopia have traditionally had very close positions on key regional and international issues, adding that Russia has reaffirmed its "strong support for the [Ethiopian] government's effort to stabilize the situation" in the region.
Russia contributed greatly to helping African nations in their anti-colonial struggle, and Africans now "expect a lot from Russia" in terms of security, Uriat Cham Ugala, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to Russia told Sputnik Africa.

"Russia has been working with Africa since the struggle of decolonization of Africa for African independence of African countries. It was playing its part in our region to make a security step. So we expect a lot from Russia as to work with African nations in our region on fighting terrorism and extremism. And also, Russia can play its part to solve the conflict in the regions and making peacekeeping up to the level for the region. And then during the post-conflict development, I think we expect a lot from Russia, so Russia can play a lot, in this regard," the envoy stated.

Commenting on Russia’s decision to contribute $10 million in food aid through UN structures to four African countries, the ambassador stated that it is a "good move."

"I really applaud the move of the Russian government […].This is a good move because there are many refugees and displaced people in Ethiopia. So if this is meant for humanitarian, I think it's a good move. It is only an act of humanity. I appreciate what Russia did," he stressed.

According to the diplomat, mutual visits and intensification of Russia-Ethiopia relations is a sign of the "coordinal relationship" between the nations.
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"This shows that the relationship between us is getting better and better. And this intensification of the official visits, I think is the manifestation of the cordial relationship between our two countries," Cham Ugala stated.

According to the ambassador, there is great potential for mutual trade between Russia and Ethiopia, while the current trade volume between Russia and Ethiopia still doesn't correspond to the economic potential of bilateral relations.

"The trade relations between Ethiopia and Russia are not up to the expectation of our bilateral relations,” the ambassador stressed. "And when you [look,] there is a lot of potential we have for Ethiopian to send its goods here and for Russia to send its products to Ethiopia, especially technology-wise."

The diplomat outlined that both countries need to "make all efforts" to increase the bilateral trade volume.
According to him, anti-Russian sanctions have had a negative effect on bilateral trade relations, adding that to boost trade, a new mechanism to improve transaction processes should be introduced.

"We need to make all efforts to increase the trade volume between the two countries,” the diplomat outlined. "So to do that, I think we need to [create a] mechanism, because we are facing challenges now, for example, the payment. Because of the sanctions imposed on Russia, the financial transactions are not easy. So I think that is very important, it's a key issue, for the two nations to talk, to sort out what mechanism they may put in place, to ease the transaction between businesses of the two countries."

A member of the audience holds a national flag at a ceremony to remember those soldiers who died on the first day of the Tigray conflict, outside the city administration office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Nov. 3, 2022.  - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 29.06.2023
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The ambassador believes that the possible new mechanism will be one the topics at the upcoming Russia-Africa Summit, which is slated take place in Russia’s St Petersburg on July 27-28.

"Sure, I think the payment system, the financial transaction, I think that this is one area that should be discussed during the summit," he noted.

As for other topics for discussions during the summit, the ambassador pointed to dimensions such as economics, trade, education, energy, science, technology, and tourism.

"It is the high time now for Russians to come to Africa and work on economic issues," Cham Ugala stated. "Politically and diplomatically we are good, but we have to change these relations into economic issues, investment and trade issues, education, energy, science, technology. All these should be the areas. For example, the tourism area, these are the areas we should focus on. So I hope that the leaders will talk about it."

The ambassador confirmed the remarks of Ethiopia’s speaker of the House of Federation, Agegnehu Teshager, who stated that Ethiopia would send a high level delegation to attend the second Russia-Africa Summit.

"Honorable Agegnehu Teshager spoke about the higher delegation of Ethiopia coming to this summit and the delegation will come over for sure," he said.