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City news, 14.07.2006 14:28

PanAfrica: Africa to Get Special Place Among Key Topics At G8 Summit

G8_africa AFRICA will have a special place among key topics to be discussed at the Group of 8 (G8) summit to be held under the Russian presidency in St Petersburg this week.

Other issues to be discussed include international energy security, HIV/Aids and other infectious diseases.

Education and African issues would be included in final declarations of the summit.

The Russian Embassy in Harare yesterday said Russia paid particular attention to African problems during its G8 presidency.

"To date, Russia has written off African countries' debts to the amount of US$11,3 billion and plans to write off some US$700 million more to the end of this year," the embassy said.

It also said Russia -- as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council -- participated in drafting strategies to resolve conflicts and determining mandates for peacekeeping missions in Africa.

More than 250 Russian soldiers and policemen are participating in current peacekeeping operations in the continent.

"Issues like widening co-operation in African peacekeepers training as well as strengthening stability and assisting creation of Africa's own anti-crisis potential with Russia taking part in such activities were discussed recently at a special meeting of the G-8 members states representatives and other donor countries in Moscow," the embassy added.

A special forum pencilled for October in Moscow is also on the cards as Russia steps up efforts to open dialogue on new partnership with Africa.

The embassy said Russia had introduced a favourable trade import regime for African countries through lifting all tax barriers on the way of "African manufactured goods to Russia".

Russia, the embassy further added, had advanced assistance in health and education to African countries with 700 scholarships allocated to African countries yearly.

Russia has also deposited US$11 million to the World Food Programme.

"Russia will further continue its activities on bilateral base as well as in the framework of G-8 and other multilateral organisations aimed at creating reliable mechanisms of sustainable development of the continent, strengthening regional stability and finding comprehensive solutions to other problems facing African countries."

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