Russia is willing to restore cooperation with the African countries but not on the Soviet-era conditions, President Vladimir Putin said at the VTB Capital’s Russia Calling Forum.
"We have traditionally had very good, time-tested relations of trust with the countries of the African continent," Putin said.
According to Putin, "we used to have very close ties with some countries, in fact it was a strategic partnership." "Certainly, these relations need to be re-established," he said.
The president noted that many countries had been "stepping up their activities on the African continent." "Obviously, we would be glad to do the same", Putin said. In his opinion, cooperation with the African countries may be developed on a bilateral basis as well as on a multilateral basis, through BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and the Republic of South Africa) in particular.
"We know what opportunities Africa offers, some companies have already begun to work there," the Russian president said. He mentioned the mining industry as an example.
At the same time Putin said that Russia "could not and would not" cooperate with Africa "as it was in the Soviet period, for political reasons." "But we know that the African continent has a great potential and it (cooperation) can be market-oriented and based on mutual interest," Putin added. He noted that the Russian authorities would support national companies aiming to work on the African continent.