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Moscow to cancel $144mn Mozambique debt
February 13, 2013, 4:36 pm

[MFA Russia]

Sergey Lavrov (r) and Oldemiro Baloi, Mozambique’s foreign minister. [MFA Russia]

Russia may cancel Mozambique’s debt of $144 million and redirect the funds to the country’s reconstruction and investment projects, says Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister.

The minister was speaking during a visit to Maputo in Mozambique – the first ever visit by a Russian foreign minister.

The money will be spent on specific projects agreed by the Russian and Mozambican governments.

Trade between the two nations doubled from $40 million in 2010 to $83 million in 2011.

Lavrov also pointed out that Russia might provide Mozambique with more weapons.

“Mozambican army is equipped with the Soviet and Russian arms. Our specialists are ready to help with the service and repairing, as well as new deliveries if the sides are mutually interested,” he said.

During Lavrov’s visit, his Mozambican counterpart, Oldemiro Baloi, highlighted “historic ties” between the two countries.

A year ago, Mikhail Margelov, special representative of the then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, outlined the interests of the Russian government and Russian businesses in investing in Mozambique.

He pointed out that Russia has never been a colonising power in Africa and thus was always considered as the continent’s natural ally.

“Russian troops never fought against Africans on African soil. On the contrary, we supported the liberation movements, including Frelimo, and we are very proud of the fact that the AK-47 rifle, the famous Kalashnikov, is on the Mozambican flag,” he said.

“Russian businesses want to invest in Africa”, Margelov said. “Mozambique, as one of the most stable African economies, is our natural choice for the development of our bilateral cooperation”.

Daria Chernyshova