Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, during a visit to deliver a special message from Vladimir Putin to Abdelmadjid Tebboune in Algeria, said that Russia absolutely backed Algeria’s decision to join BRICS, an emerging organization which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
United States and Europe’s sanctions have pushed Russia to re-focus its external relations towards Africa. Since the start of the year, Russian delegations have visited a number of African countries. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made trips to South Africa, Angola, Eswatini, Eritrea, Mali, Mauritania and Sudan. That was followed by Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev who paid a visit to Algeria.
“As you know, Algeria has expressed a desire to join the BRICS format. Russia will certainly support this intention and will do its best to facilitate this,” Matviyenko said after meeting with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. According to her, Tebboune pointed out during the meeting that Russia was and remained a great friend of Algeria.
“I relayed the message from the Russian President to the President of Algeria; it is rather substantive – in the message, the Russian President invited the President of Algeria to make an official visit to Russia, and invited him to take part in the second Russia-Africa Summit,” Matviyenko told reporters after meeting with Tebboune.
Federation Speaker Matviyenko, however explained that BRICS member states are currently working on criteria for admission of new members into the group, and decision on new members would be made by all five countries chaired by South Africa in 2023.
The group has to develop common clear mechanisms of admission of other states to this structure. Such work on development of criteria for expansion of BRICS is already underway. Matviyenko re-assured, adding that Algeria has chances to become one of the first states to join the group’s work. Algeria has applied for membership in November 2022.
Moscow’s long-term interest may be to facilitate the development of Algeria’s domestic gas market, said Vsevolod Sviridov, an expert at the Higher School of Economics’ Center for African Studies. The country’s growing gas processing and domestic consumption will positively impact its economic development and financial stability, while limiting the over-supply of gas in Europe, the expert said.
“Undoubtedly, Algeria is one of Russia’s friendliest countries in Africa. It has officially proclaimed a strategic partnership with our country. It is one of three African nations to pursue such a policy, along with Egypt and South Africa,” the expert noted.
Policy experts and researchers have been monitoring the current developments with Africa, especially after Russia’s ‘special military operation’ in the neighbouring Ukraine which adversely affecting millions of already impoverished population in Africa. Russia has gone extremely loud on anti-Western rhetoric, and with deepening differences in political sentiments among African countries which threatens unity in the continent.
On the other hand, Russia tries to make sure that the grain deal is implemented correctly in order to prevent a food crisis in Africa. That however, African countries, in turn, are ready to take part in efforts to resolve the Ukrainian crisis, which has been affecting not only Europe but all other regions of the world, including Africa.
Some believes that the 60-day extension of the Black Sea grain deal is sufficient to ease the situation in exports, not permanently though. The agreement on Ukrainian food exports were made for a term of 120 days in Istanbul in July 2022. The deal regulates grain exports from the Ukraine-controlled ports of Odessa, Chernomosk and Yuzhny. The United Nations engages in efforts to lift anti-Russian restrictions preventing the export of agricultural products and fertilizers to global markets.
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