Russia is ready to support Mozambique in the fight against terrorism through cooperation in the field of intelligence, Russian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Mikhail Bogdanov said at the end of a meeting with Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosário in Maputo.
Bogdanov, who is also Russia’s Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa, defended the importance of African countries, including Mozambique, launching initiatives on their own real needs for combating the phenomenon in international forums, especially at the level of the United Nations.
In the context of anti-terrorist cooperation between Moscow and the African continent, the Russian diplomat said it was important for Africans to help the world understand their efforts in this fight.
Bogdanov considered the situation in Cabo Delgado a serious issue, which is why his country was offering to help address it. It is worth noting that during an earlier visit to Maputo by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, it was announced that Russia would increase counter-terrorism cooperation with Mozambique. Since then, no reports have been made available publicly.
Mozambique has been grappling with an insurgency in its northernmost province of Cabo Delgado since 2017, but currently improving after the deployment of joint military force with the primary responsibility of ensuring peace and stability, and for restoring normalcy in Mozambique.
Bogdanov also met Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Verónica Macamo Dhlovo, with terrorism again dominating the conversation between the two. Themes related to bilateral cooperation in the areas of economy and trade, the humanitarian sphere and others of mutual interest were discussed. During tropical cyclone Idai in April 2019, Russia helped by sending humanitarian supplies to Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique.
Bogdanov said that Russia places special emphasis on relations with countries on the African continent, highlighted the holding, in 2019, of the 1st Russia-Africa Summit, at which Mozambique was represented by President Filipe Nyusi.
“Preparations are now underway for the second [Russia-Africa] summit, which will take place in 2022, and we would be grateful if Mozambique were represented at the highest possible level,” Bogdanov said.
Russia has had economic cooperation with Mozambique. Until recently, reports on the “hidden debts” scandal amounted to US$2 billion loan scam involving two banks, the Credit Suisse and the Russia’s VTB bank. The secrecy and corruption surrounding the loans dealt devastating blows to Mozambique’s credibility and reputation.
It was the Wall Street Journal first revealed the hidden debt in April 2016. By U.S. court ruling, the Russian bank VTB agreed to pay more than US$6 million to settle the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
In 2015, Rosneft was awarded three licenses to extract natural gas near the Rovuma basin, in partnership with Exxon Mobil. Besides that, Inter RAO-Export and EdM (Mozambique) also signed a memorandum of understanding in power generation.
Back in August 2019, when President of Mozambique Filipe Nyusi held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, both agreed on deepening economic cooperation especially in energy, oil and gas exploration, and the development of Russian-Mozambican cooperation in various other mutually viable sectors. A series of long-standing agreement have signed.
With an approximate population of 30 million, Mozambique is endowed with rich and extensive natural resources but remains one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world.