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Press release on Russian Energy Week International Forum 2018

17.10.2018

The second Russian Energy Week Forum (REW) was hold in Moscow on October 3-6, 2018. About 9.5 thousand people, representatives of official and business circles of 70 states, including 20 energy ministers, heads of large domestic and international analytical companies met to discuss the global energy agenda in an open trusting way.

The pivotal event of the REW-2018 became the speech of the President of the Russian Federation at the plenary session "Sustainable Energy for a Changing World." In his speech, V.Putin pointed out the stabilizing role of Russia in the global energy market and emphasized that the world energy security may be provided only with an equal partnership based on the identical rules, pragmatism, shared responsibility, and mutual interests. The President commended the constructive interaction between the Russian Federation, OPEC and other petroleum exporting countries. Owing to the joint work, we managed to achieve a balance in the global oil market, which is necessary for the implementation of long-term investment plans.

During the meeting with the President of Russia and in his speech at the REW, the OPEC Secretary General M.Barkindo noted the significant role of our country in reaching the Vienna agreements and their compliance. The mutual interest in further development and institutionalization of cooperation was confirmed.

The oil prices became the most sensitive issue discussed by the participants. V.Putin as well as the energy ministers of the diverse countries, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, expressed the opinion that the basic indicators of supply and demand for hydrocarbons are generally balanced now. The cause of price volatility arises from the political situation, such as the US unilateral measures and plans.

Until 2040, fossil energy sources (FES) will remain a key element of the global energy industry. Their share is expected to account for more than 75% of energy production, of which oil and gas - more than 50%. The demand for “black gold” will be high.

Gas will continue to be the most affordable, green and efficient fuel. By 2040, global consumption would have exceeded 5 trillion cubic metre, and its share in the energy balance will raise from 23% to 26-28%. The growth of the role of liquefied natural gas (LNG) is projected with the number of its consumers increasing from 17 to 40 countries. The resource base allows Russia to boost LNG production by 70–80 million tons by 2024 and become one of the leading LNG exporters by unleashing the potential of the Northern Sea Route.

The global coal market will continue to show positive dynamics in until 2040. For our country, which is the 3rd among the coal exporters (190 million tons), it is vital to gain momentum in this sphere.

Another priority is to hold the leading position in the nuclear field. Currently, “Rosatom” is constructing 25 power plants in 12 countries with total number of orders exceeding 36. Hence the opportunity of the Russian peaceful atom promotion was also noted.

The start in Russia of a relatively new industry - the production of renewable energy sources (RES) - was highlighted as a distinguished achievement as well. By 2024, facilities with a capacity of 5,000 MW will be constructed. Industrial and scientific clusters which will allow our country to enter the foreign markets with own new technological solutions to solar and wind energy products are being formed in the country.

During the Russian-African round table, the partners, referring to the experience of the USSR, expressed their support for intensifying the Russian presence in the energy sector of Africa, and urged to widen a number of appropriate training programmes in our universities. Africans are interested in creating new energy plants not only for households, but also for industrialization. The Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade and energy giants such as “Transneft” PJSC, “Hevel” LLC confirmed their intention to cooperate with the states of the region, first of all, through the intergovernmental agreement mechanism.

The Embassy of the Russian Federation
in the Republic of Botswana

Press release on the measures taken by the Russian Federation to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives

24.09.2018

The Russian Federation deems it necessary to draw the attention of the international community and take appropriate measures for the following deeply disturbing acts of the Government of the United States of America that are incompatible with their international commitments under the UN Charter and universally recognized norms of international diplomatic and consular law, and that call into question the declared commitment of the U.S. to the principles of justice and the rule of law.

The U.S. Government referring to its sovereign prerogatives and national law from December 2016 to April 2018 took a range of provocative, hostile and coercive measures, unprecedented in their scope and cynicism, against a number of Russian official missions, their property, as well as the missions' staff and their family members. The measures sought to expel Russian official missions, the missions' staff and their family members from the premises they occupied on lawful grounds; to cause damage to the sovereign dignity of the Russian Federation and moral damage to the staff of its official missions; to disrupt the normal functioning of the diplomatic missions and consular establishments of the Russian Federation in the U.S.; and to deny the Russian Federation access to the property it used for sovereign purposes.

The official missions of the Russian Federation and their premises, raided and seized by the U.S. authorities, are listed below.

1. Part of The Embassy of the Russian Federation.

2. The Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the UN in New York.

3. The Consulate General of the Russian Federation in San Francisco.

4. The Trade Representation of the Russian Federation in Washington.

5. The Office of the Trade Representation of the Russian Federation in New York.

6. Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Seattle.

Despite protests by the Russian Federation, State flags of the Russian Federation have been removed from all of the above-mentioned premises.

The Russian Federation also expresses the most serious concern over the fact that the repressive infringements described above, incompatible with the purpose and objectives of the UN Charter, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of April 18, 1961, the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of April 24, 1963, and the United Nations Headquarters Agreement between the U.S. Government and the UN of June 26, 1947.

The Russian Federation drew the attention of the UN Secretary General, who on 18 May, 2018 was given a message regarding his report on the agenda item “Consideration of effective measures to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives” to be made to the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, as well as presented the U.S. Department of State a note of protest of 7 August , 2018 against such interpretation and application of the above-mentioned international instruments and believes that the consequences of the measures taken by the U.S. authorities, which affect international obligations erga omnes, go way beyond the U.S..Russian bilateral relations and are capable of creating an extremely undesirable precedent and causing serious damage to sustainability and stability of the entire system of international relations.

The Russian Federation was therefore forced to take reciprocal measures against a number of the U.S. facilities in the Russian territory that the Russian Federation would prefer to avoid under other circumstances. The Ministry notes that these measures have not been, nevertheless, fully symmetrical so far - because the Russian Federation has not purported to terminate the status of U.S. diplomatic or consular mission premises and has not interfered with the immunities and inviolabilities to which such premises are entitled - and reserves the right to adopt additional countermeasures if the United States continues its violations.

There have already been examples in history when a state dissatisfied with the behavior of another state, arbitrarily, violating the norms of international law, "abolished" its sovereign status by the "right of force", used repressive measures against it. Without exaggeration, we can name the "Munich Agreement" signed on 30 September, 1938, which led to tragic consequences for the whole world .

The Russian Federation is convinced that the above actions of the U.S. authorities require strong condemnation by the United Nations and the entire  international community.

The Embassy of the Russian Federation
in the Republic of Botswana

Press release on the meeting between Deputy Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation Colonel-General A. Fomin and Minister of Defence, Justice and Security of the Republic of Botswana S. Kgathi

28.08.2018

Deputy Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation Colonel-General A. Fomin met Minister of Defence, Justice and Security of the Republic of Botswana S. Kgathi on August 28, 2018.

The parties discussed the state of military and military-technical cooperation, as well as the main directions for the further development of relations between defence ministries of the two countries.

The Embassy of the Russian Federation
in the Republic of Botswana

Press release on Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov's meeting with Minister of Defence, Justice and Security of Botswana Shaw Kgathi

28.08.2018

On August 28 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa Mikhail Bogdanov met with the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security of the Republic of Botswana Shaw Kgathi, who arrived in Moscow with a working visit.

The discussion touched upon topical issues of further development of the traditionally friendly Russia–Botswana relations with a focus on the prospects for expanding mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation.

Source: official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

The Embassy of the Russian Federation
in the Republic of Botswana

Press release on the recent development of the situation in Syria

23.08.2018

During the talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Lebanon’s Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Gebran Bassil in Moscow on August 20, 2018 the issues related to the safe and dignified return of Syrian citizens home were discussed. Two parts agreed that conditions for the return of refugees were already being created, and it is counterproductive to make artificial demands that complicate the return of the refugees and the restoration of the country’s potential.

Several days ago Mr Staffan de Mistura, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, visited Washington and met with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. Following their talks, the US Department of State said it was premature to even discuss Syria’s restoration. It was said that first it was necessary to reach a political settlement, the so-called “political transition.” Indicatively, the US sets these preconditions only for the territories that are controlled by the Syrian Government and have been liberated from ISIS, al-Nusra and other terrorists.

Such requirements are not set for the areas controlled by the opposition forces that are cooperating with the US and enjoying its support, primarily on the Eastern bank of the Euphrates. On the contrary, restoration is in full swing and the US is involving many allies in the payment for these efforts. Recently, US officials and senators openly promoted their efforts on removing mines on the Eastern bank of the Euphrates and restoring roads, schools, hospitals, residential and commercial buildings, thereby emphasising that the US is making a contribution to Syria’s restoration. However, it is limited to the areas occupied by the opposition that are not always constructive. On the territories under its control and that of the opposition, the US has established an unilateral security area in At-Tanf that includes the Rukban camp. UN officials are not allowed to visit this camp, and humanitarian relief is being impeded. However, militants including al-Nusra fighters periodically conduct raids in the part of Syria freed by Damascus, in part, to prevent refugees from Jordan from returning.

Of course, Russian Federation is drawing the attention of the UN Security Council to this situation that does not meet any requirements of UN Security Council Resolution 2254. Considering this absolutely destructive US position, the UN Security Council will hardly be able make any positive decisions on this issue at this time. We will continue working with the countries that understand the urgency of the measures on returning the refugees and the creation of conditions for this. These are countries that have accepted refugees from Syria (mostly, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey) and the European states that are also coming to realise the need for specific steps to this end. This was confirmed by the recent joint Russian-French humanitarian act on the delivery of cargo to Eastern Ghouta by a Russian aircraft from France and the talks between President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Mesenberg on August 18, 2018. They discussed Syria and, in particular, the refugee issue.

Russia and Turkey, as well as Iran as guarantors of the Astana process are working every day by telephone and in person in order to unblock the situation in Idlib and the return of Syrian refugees. In the next few days, Russia will hold talks with its Turkish colleagues to discuss Syrian settlement in general and all of its aspects. Of course, especially with regard to the military, we are focusing, at this stage, primarily on implementing the tasks agreed upon during the creation of the de-escalation zone in Idlib. The key goal now is to separate the opposition groups that are willing to participate in the political process from the al-Nusra militants who abound in the Idlib area and are trying to govern it and provide for day-to-day life in that region. The armed opposition groups that are trying to establish cooperation with Jabhat al-Nusra should think twice and do so as soon as possible.

When Turkey deployed 12 observation posts in this zone awhile back, the situation calmed down a bit, but then al-Nusra and their branches began to fire at the Syrian army’s positions from this de-escalation zone; they launched drones, and tried to attack Russian air base in Khmeimim. This must stop. The other day in Ankara, Foreign Ministers of Russia Sergey Lavrov and of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu agreed that a separation of the armed groups that are willing to cooperate in resolving the crisis from Jabhat al-Nusra is a priority.

Concerning the position of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi who spoke against facilitating the return of Syrian refugees, calling the situation in Syria too dangerous, Russian Foreign Ministry contacted the headquarters of his department. It was told that the commissioner had in mind the following: until there is a so-called process of political transition, the main donors, primarily the West, will not send any funding to restore Syria's infrastructure and economy in general. We stated our view that there are other donors besides Western ones, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees should not look like a "branch" of a group of Western countries. Concurrently and irrespective of the refugee issue, Russian Federation asked UNESCO how they plan to implement long-standing agreements on how to make that organisation's potential useful for restoring Palmyra. From their explanations as to why UNESCO cannot yet engage in this, we realised that they have instructions from UN headquarters in New York. It turns out that the Political Department of the UN Secretariat issued and circulated throughout the UN system in October 2017 a secret directive prohibiting organisations that are part of this system to participate in any projects to restore the Syrian economy limiting their involvement to humanitarian aid and nothing more. Again, a condition was put forward that only after progress had been made on a so-called "political transition" will it be possible to deal with the restoration of Syria. Minister Sergey Lavrov asked Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres why such matters are the subject of some in-house secret Secretariat’s directives and why the UN Security Council which deals directly with the Syrian settlement is not aware of them, and why such decisions are made without an open and objective analysis of the situation on the ground. Mr Guterres promised to sort it out. Russian Federation convinced that everyone will agree that no group of countries should be allowed to manipulate in their self-serving geopolitical interests or the secretariats of international organisations whose employees must be impartial and independent. We see our partners in all international organisations. The UN system was created under UN Charter principles based on respect and equality of all states. Our country calls on our Western partners to return to these principles and not to try to take advantage of unwitting, as they say, international organisations. We have disagreements over Syria and a host of other issues, but Russia wants to discuss them candidly and openly, rather than try to address matters behind the backs of our partners in a particular international structure by influencing the secretariat staff in the corresponding international organisations.

The Embassy of the Russian Federation
in the Republic of Botswana

Press release on the results of the 10th BRICS summit – 2018

30.07.2018

The 10th BRICS summit was held in Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa, on July 25-27, 2018. Presidents V.Putin, M.Temer, Xi Jinping, C.Ramaphosa, and Prime Minister N.Modi endorsed the Johannesburg Declaration that is aimed against economic sanctions and the use of force in violation of the UN Charter. It is also designed to prevent an arms race in outer space, support the Astana process on a settlement in Syria and preserve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The declaration includes the Russian initiatives on drafting an agreement on IT and communication technology, forming a platform for energy research and establishing a women’s business alliance. It deals with BRICS cooperation in culture, sport and cinematography.

The summit sent a powerful signal in favour of preserving the WTO, against protectionism and changing the rules of world trade. Inter-governmental memorandums were signed on cooperation in regional aviation and environmental protection, and an agreement on establishing a new Development Bank office in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

All five leaders agreed to a proposal by Russian President Vladimir Putin that co-operation should be extended at people-to-people level to promote co-operation and make the community more inclusive.

President V.Putin attended a meeting of BRICS leaders with delegation heads from invited African states and chairs of international associations. Those invited included the leaders of African countries, namely, Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Gabon, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, the Seychelles, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The meeting was also attended by the heads of Argentina (the current chair of the G20), Turkey (the current chair of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation) and Jamaica (the current chair of the Caribbean Community).

At the meeting President V.Putin said that Group of Five and African countries have greatly strengthened and expanded their cooperation in the economy, politics and the humanitarian sphere. Africa is one of the world’s most rapidly developing regions. According to the UN, the population of this continent will reach 2.5 billion by 2050. In 2015, the BRICS summit in Russia adopted the large-scale BRICS Strategy for Economic Partnership with Africa.

Russia plans to increase its assistance to the development of the national energy sector in African states, Vladimir V.Putin noted. We are implementing promising oil and gas projects with a number of countries, such as Angola, Mozambique, and Gabon. In the nuclear power industry, where Russia is a technological leader, we offer our African partners the creation of an entire industry on a turnkey basis. Agreements on cooperation in the field of atoms for peace have been signed with a number of countries in the region, while in some of them the work has acquired a practical dimension. All these projects will be of strategic importance for Africa, where, according to different estimates, as many as 600 million people still live without electricity.

A considerable part of Russian initiatives provides for domesticating industrial businesses in Africa, including, among other things, the construction of plants manufacturing component parts and assembly works. The implementation of these joint projects will serve to strengthen the industrial potential, support local businesses and create new and well-paid jobs. On the whole, this will lead to an improvement in living standards and a solution of social problems in African states.

Russia has a vested interest in intensifying interaction with African regional and sub-regional organizations, primarily with the African Union as well as the Southern African Development Community.

The amount of Russian assistance to Africa exceeded one billion dollars in 2017. Russian contributions to the World Food Programme fund are constantly growing. Russia is the fifth biggest contributor to the UNIDO Industrial Development Fund.

Considerable funds are remitted to the World Health Organization for the fight against non-infectious diseases on the African continent. Our work to combat the Ebola virus has proved highly efficient.

Russia has for years trained national professional personnel for countries of the continent. Currently, thousands of Africans are being educated in Russia. In conclusion, President informed that we were studying the idea of holding a Russia-Africa summit with the participation of heads of African states. This could be preceded by relevant meetings of prominent business people, experts, and public figures.

Russian Foreign Ministry's Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova took part in the 1st Meeting of the Spokespersons of the BRICS Member States' MFAs held in Johannesburg, South Africa. She spoke about enhancing cooperation and coordinating efforts in promoting positive image & agenda of BRICS, made an experience-sharing presentation "Countering #FakeNews: Experience of the Russian MFA", which was very positively received by other participants including the South African hosts.

The Embassy of the Russian Federation
in the Republic of Botswana

Press release on the results of the FIFA World Cup Russia – 2018

14.07.2018

The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia ended on July 15, 2018 with final clash between Croatia and France which took place at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. The French team hammered the Croatian team 4:2 in the match to grab its second World Cup Trophy.

The Russian national football team reached the quarterfinals stage of this world championship, where Croatia edged them out in a 4:2 penalty shootout on July 7 at the Fisht Arena in Sochi.

FIFA and the Russia-2018 organizing committee summed up the tournament’s results shortly before the final match and came to the conclusion that the recent World Cup was the best in its history.

"A couple of years ago, I said this would be the best World Cup ever. Today, I can say it with a new conviction. It is the best World Cup ever," FIFA President G.Infantino told at the news conference in Moscow.

The FIFA World Cup hosted by Russia has been a success and its best achievement is that anti-Russian myths and prejudice collapsed, Russian President Vladimir Putin said opening a gala concert at the Bolshoi Theatre on July 14, 2018.

He also noted: "Russia was getting ready for the championship substantially and responsibly, and we are sincerely happy that it has been a success and has united millions of people globally around football. Our efforts have been praised by athletes, who were offered the best conditions for showing their best potential, and by the media, since the staff of the championship’s eleven media centers were working around the clock to help them, and certainly, by the fans".

Overall, the attendance of 98% at stadiums was a pleasant surprise, 3 million tickets for the World Cup were sold or distributed in different ways. High attendance records were set at the FIFA Fan Fest sites as well. Those festivals were visited by more than 7 million people, which is more than during the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. Russia has seen an unprecedented inflow of tourists, more than 1 million foreigners visited the country in about a month. The number of fans from the Latin America visiting Russia exceeded the number of the European guests. Over four billion people have watched this World Cup.

The FIFA World Cup, the first-ever hosted by Russia, was held in 11 Russian cities - Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Sochi and Rostov-on-Don at twelve newly built and reconstructed stadiums.

During the tournament, airports have served 15 million passengers. As far as free trains are concerned, they transported more than 300,000 people to eleven cities of the championship and were 70% loaded on average.

Furthermore, in accordance with the unanimous opinion of the FIFA President G.Infantino, numerous fans and guests of the championship, football players and independent football experts, Russia has become a real football country, a country where football is not only the World Cup, which is organized at an excellent level but where football has become a part of the country's culture.

Stadiums, airports, roads, hotels have created a powerful impetus for developing sport and tourism in the country both for the Russian citizens and for the foreign guests.

On July 14, 2018 the President of Russia Vladimir Putin in the presence of FIFA President G.Infantino handed over a red and white football with the 2018 World Cup logo to the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the country that will host the next World Cup, between November 21 and December 18, 2022.

The Embassy of the Russian Federation
in the Republic of Botswana

Press release on the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia – 2018

18.06.2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the FIFA World Cup 2018 Opening Ceremony at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on June 14, as well as the tournament’s opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia. “Wherever we may live, whatever traditions we may follow, love of football unites us into one team. All of us share love of this spectacular, bright and uncompromising game. This explains why all members of this team understand and feel each other so well", he said. The President congratulated the large, multi-ethnic and harmonious world football family upon the beginning of the main global tournament.

Foreign leaders and top officials also participated at the ceremony, including the presidents of Abkhazia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bolivia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Panama, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, South Ossetia, Rwanda, the president-elect of Paraguay, the prime ministers of Armenia and Lebanon, the Saudi crown prince and the president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea.

UK singer Robbie Williams, Russian opera soprano Aida Garifullina and two-times FIFA World Cup champion Ronaldo took part in the opening ceremony of the upcoming World Cup in Russia as well.

The FIFA World Cup, the first-ever hosted by Russia, will be held between June 14 and July 15, 2018, in 11 Russian cities - Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Sochi and Rostov-on-Don at twelve newly built and reconstructed stadiums.

Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay make up Group A, while Group B includes Portugal, Spain, Iran and Morocco. Group C consists of France, Australia, Peru and Denmark, while Group D is Argentina, Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria. Group E is composed of Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia. Group F has Germany, Mexico, Sweden and South Korea, while Group G encompasses Belgium, Panama, Tunisia and England. Finally, Group H has Poland, Colombia, Senegal and Japan.

Russia is a fascinating and friendly country, and the World Cup proves a welcome window into the one of   the biggest nation on the planet. Preparation work for this

significant event won recognition from the FIFA. Russia is absolutely ready to host the 2018 World Cup in June and July, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said recently as the country completed final preparations to stage the soccer tournament.

More than 1.5 million foreign tourists are expected to visit Russia during the 2018

FIFA World Cup. The hotels and quality standards comply with FIFA strict requirements.

More than 700 trains with a total capacity of almost 450,000 seats have been put into service. As of today, more than 86 percent of the seats in free of charge trains operating during the group stage in the first two weeks of the World Cup have already been booked, and 64 percent have been booked in trains operating during the knockout stage.

Fans are advised to purchase match tickets and have a valid Fan ID in order to be able to reserve a seat free of charge. The Russian authorities are involved in preventing ticket touting by all means.

As far as security for the World Cup is concerned, FIFA has entire trust in the security arrangements and comprehensive security concept developed by the Russian authorities and the National Organising Committee. As demonstrated during the FIFA Confederations Cup last year, our country has extensive experience to put security measures in place to meet specific needs of such major sporting events.

Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Botswana

Press release on the 22th St.Petersburg International Economic Forum 2018

26.05.2018

The 22th Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) was held on May 24-26, 2018. More than 17,000 participants from 143 countries visited various events of the forum in Saint Petersburg. A total of 550 agreements worth more than 2.3 trillion rubles ($38 billion) have been signed.

The SPIEF, held annually, is a major global platform for communication between business representatives and for the discussion of crucial economic issues. The forum’s theme this year was Creating an Economy of Trust.  

The US delegation was the largest one, it included more than 550 business people. The next three largest delegations came from China, Japan and France. French President Emmanuel Macron and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were invited as the guests of honour at this year's forum. International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde and Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan also attended the event.

Russian President Vladimir Putin took part at the main event - plenary session of the SPIEF and spoke on challenges of the world economy, as well as key foreign policy issues. He stressed that the world needed "a full-scale trade peace" rather than trade wars or even temporary trade armistices. The President is convinced that experience shows the role of trust as a factor of development will grow, and Russia stands for trade freedom, economic integration, constructive partner-to-partner dialogue. He called on his partners from Europe, America, Asia, Africa and other regions to advance together towards the sustainable development goals.

Special attention was paid to the African continent due to the celebration of two important dates during the forum - Africa Day and the 55th Anniversary of the African Union.

On May 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin met Central African Republic’s President Faustin-Archange Touadera on the sidelines of the forum. The two leaders considered various ways to intensify bilateral relations, first and foremost in economic and humanitarian spheres.

On the same day, the Russia-Africa Panel Session took place. President Faustin-Archange Touadera, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mozambiue Jose Pacheco, other ministers and heads of parliaments from a number of African countries, accredited ambassadors to Russia and members of African and African Union delegations participating in the SPIEF attended the session. Officials from various ministries and agencies as well as the academic and business communities represented the Russian Federation.

The session featured an in-depth discussion of the current state and prospects of trade, economic and investment cooperation between Russia and African counties. The participants noted that the interest of Russian and African businesses in establishing mutually beneficial ties and implementing joint projects both in Russia and Africa has increased. In this case, the need to improve mutual awareness of trade and investment potential and business specifics, including current legislation, was underscored.

On May 28, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mozambique Jose Pacheco, who arrived in Moscow on a visit following his participation in the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Botswana

"Last-Minute" Tickets Sales for 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

18.04.2018

On April 18 2018, the last phase of tickets sales for 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia is launched on official website of FIFA. The phase will last up to the end of the championship. Fans can get tickets by turn in the real time mode. Tickets for all matches will be obtainable for purchase. Tickets of the fourth category which are reserved for residents of the Russian Federation will be obtainable for certain matches as well.

Since the beginning of sales on September, 2017 almost 1,7 million tickets have been sold to fans from around the world through FIFA website. Most part of the tickets (796 875) was purchased by the Russian fans. Residents of other top five countries who expressed desire to attend 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia are the USA (over 80 000), Brazil (fast 66 000), Colombia (over 60 000), Germany (over 55 000) and Mexico (fast 52 000). In general 2,7 million tickets will be available for purchase while 2,2 million of them are already distributed.

FIFA tickets sales centres are opened in all hosting cities of the championship. In these centres fans can receive tickets which they earlier bought through FIFA website. Starting from May 1, 2018, tickets for football matches also will be obtainable in the booking offices of tickets sales centres.

For detailed information about tickets sales for 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, please, visit the following website:

http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/organisation/ticketing/index.html

Embassy of Russia in Botswana

On preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

28.03.2018

FIFA World Cup will be held in Russia from June, 14 till July 15, 2018. Football matches are to take place in eleven Russian cities: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi, Saransk, Volgograd, Rostov-na-Donu, Samara, Kaliningrad, Ekaterinburg and Nizhni Novgorod. Every team-participant will be provided with three training grounds at every stadium, places for residence and exercises, located both in cities-organizers and in other regions of the European part of Russia.

In total 64 matches will be played during the Championship. Since the qualifying tournament was completed in November, 2017, all 32 teams-participants of the FIFA World Cup (the Russian national team participates by rights of country-organizer) were designated.

On December 1, 2017 the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow hosted the ceremony of the Final Draw for the FIFA World Cup which was attended by the President of the Russian Federation V.V.Putin and the president of FIFA G.Infantino. The world football stars were also in the picture. Following the results of the Final Draw, national teams were divided into 8 groups (4 teams in every group).

As part of transport infrastructure development, motorways, bridges, traffic intersections, stations and parking zones are being constructed and reconstructed. The organizers actively upgrade public transport and improve airports facilities in the hosting cities.

Everyone who wishes to visit the FIFA World Cup in Russia can receive the "Fan ID". It is a personalised document which affords ground for spectators of all categories to access the stadiums. With Fan ID foreigners will have the right to enter Russia without visas during the time period which starts ten days prior to the first football match and ends in ten days after the last match of tournament. Moreover, Fan ID entitles its owner to use different modes of transport for travel within the cities-organizers and between them free of charge. All necessary information about Fan ID, including the application, its reception and delivery, can be found on the website www.fan-id.ru. Rules and principles of fans free travel system are easy to find on website: https://tickets.transport2018.com/.

All visitors of the FIFA World Cup in Russia have opportunity to choose and book rooms in hotels independently through all accessible sale channels, including:

– FIFA website: http://hotels.FIFA.com;

– official tourist portal of the Organizing Committee http://welcome2018.com;

– authorised FIFA accommodation operator – «MATCH Accommodation» (telephone number in Moscow, Russia +7 499 658 2010);

– other Russian and international systems of online hotels booking, as well as in hotels directly.

The tournament's booking program is implemented by FIFA exclusively. Sales of tickets for the FIFA World Cup in Russia started on September 14, 2017. The detailed information on requests initiation, tickets products and sales stages can be found on FIFA website http://www.fifa.com. Besides, it is possible to consult the support service of the FIFA World Cup Tickets Centre through the hotline: +7(495) 787 20 18 for residents of the Russian Federation or + 4(144) 563 20 18 for foreign nationals.

For the FIFA World Cup fans the Organizing Committee launched the tourist internet portal welcome2018.com with a lot of useful and comprehensive information about the tournament and cities-organizers.

The FIFA World Cup is a global holiday of football which is anticipated by millions fans worldwide. In this respect the provision of high quality services is one of the key objectives of the tournament organisation in Russia.

Embassy of Russia in Botswana

Russian Foreign Ministry statement

26.03.2018

We express our strong protest in the wake of the decision taken by a number of EU and NATO member countries to expel Russian diplomats.

We consider this as an unfriendly step that is not consistent with the goals and interests of establishing the underlying reasons and searching for the perpetrators of the incident that occurred in the town of Salisbury on March 4. The provocative gesture of the so-called solidarity of these countries with London, which blindly followed the British authorities in the so-called “Skripal case” and which never got around to sort out the circumstances of the incident, is a continuation of the confrontational policy to escalate the situation.

Presenting unfounded charges against Russia in the absence of explanations of what happened and refusing to engage in meaningful interaction, the British authorities have de facto adopted a prejudiced, biased as well as hypocritical stance.

This is an attempt on the lives of Russian citizens on the territory of Great Britain. Despite our repeated requests for information addressed to London, Russia does not have any information in this regard. British allies don’t have any objective and exhaustive data and blindly follow the principle of Euro-Atlantic unity at the expense of common sense, the rules of civilised state-to-state dialogue and the principles of international law. It goes without saying that this unfriendly move by this group of countries will not go unnoticed, and we will respond to it.

Embassy of Russia in Botswana

On social-economic development in Crimea

17.03.2018

The proclamation of independence of the Republic of Crimea on March 17, 2017 and its reunification with the Russian Federation were conducted on the basis of the direct expression of the will of peninsula’s population at the general referendum after the coup d’état in Ukraine on February 2014. The Russian Federation guarantees to the peoples of Crimea the equal rights and freedoms regardless of language, religion, national and social origins and political convictions in accordance with the Russian international obligations and commitments in this area.

The Russian Federation also provides the events for national, cultural and spiritual renaissance of Crimea’s peoples. Since the reunification there were no significant interethnic or inter-confessional conflicts in the Crimea. The Presidential Decree No. 268 of April 21, 2014 "On Measures to Rehabilitate the Armenian, Bulgarian, Greek, Crimean-Tatar and German Peoples and State Support for their Revival and Development" is the legal framework for the establishment of national cultural autonomies. In 2018 fourteen of them including two Crimean-Tatar ones already exist.

To settle the deported peoples including the Crimean Tatars, 95% of which are in possession of Russian passports, and assist them to set up 10 billion rubles have been allocated. This community is well represented in the authorities of all levels, in accordance with its share in the population (at least 10% of the internal affairs agencies and prosecutor's office staff). State-confessional interaction is developing in an effective way. The construction of the cathedral mosque for 400 thousand people in Simferopol will be finished soon.

As of January 2017, the population of the peninsula is 2.3 million people. In total there are more then 100 nations and nationalities in the Crimea. 85% of Crimeans consider Russian as their native language. In accordance with the Constitution, the state languages of the Republic of Crimea are Russian, Ukrainian and Crimean-Tatar. The principle of cultural adversity is recognized, their equal development and mutual enrichment are ensured.

In the secondary schools of the peninsula the teaching is provided in 3 state languages. In Crimea there is a school, where pupils during the first nine years are taught entirely in Ukrainian, and there are also 7 schools having Ukrainian classes. The Ukrainian language is taught in 58 schools as an obligatory discipline and in 65 as an optional one. The total number of pupils, who study the Ukrainian language is 11 thousand people. There are 15 schools where the language of teaching is Crimean-Tatar with 5.6 thousand pupils studying there. The Ministry of the Education, Science and Youth of the Republic of Crimea is drafting the textbooks in Ukrainian and Crimean-Tatar languages. The choice of language for children is made by parents on a voluntary basis.

Today the Republic of Crimea and the city with federal status Sevastopol are integrated in the Russian economic space. Since 2014 the Federal Target Programme “Social and Economic Development of the Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol until 2020” has been implemented with the budget of $11 bln. The economy is on the upward trend, which has been achieved due to the development of energy, recreational sectors and the growth of housing construction. The implementation of major infrastructure projects is expected to give a fresh impetus to the social economic development.

In the current year, two heating and power grids with a capacity of 470 MW are going to be launched in Simferopol and Sevastopol. A similar facility is being built in the city of Saki (120 MW). 100 km of new pipelines have been built for stable water supply, which allowed to collect a record harvest wheat (1.7 million tons) in 2017. 520 km of roads were repaired for 2015-2016 and another 700 km are scheduled for modernization by 2021. In 2018, the motorway of the Kerch Bridge, the total cost of which is 228 billion rubles, is planned for putting into operation. The launch of railway traffic is scheduled for 2018. By September 2020, the construction of the 250-km federal highway "Tavrida" with a budget of 566 billion rubles will be completed.

Nowadays, the delivery of goods (food, medicines, etc.) is mainly provided by Kerch ferry with passengers transported by air. During the busy periods the international airport of Simferopol receives up to 240 flights per day (according to the results of 2017 it is on the 7th place in Russia with 500 thousand tourists). This year a new terminal will be opened after the reconstruction which costs 6.5 billion rubles, the scheduled flow of passengers will reach 6.5 million people per year.

The situation in the social sphere of the peninsula is improving. For 4 years, the nominal salaries have increased by 60%, pensions - more than 2 times. Moreover, all social security and protection programs guaranteed by the federal laws were extended to the Crimeans.

Embassy of Russia in Botswana

On the case of Sergey Skripal

14.03.2018

The March 14 statement made by British Prime Minister Theresa May in Parliament on measures to “punish” Russia, under the false pretext of its alleged involvement in so-called “highly likely” style in the poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter, constitutes an unprecedented, flagrant provocation that undermines the foundations of normal dialogue between our countries.

Instead of completing its own investigation and using established international formats and instruments, the British Government opted for confrontation with Russia. Obviously, by investigating this incident in a unilateral, non-transparent way, the British Government is again seeking to launch a groundless anti-Russian campaign.

During the briefing of March 15, 2018, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson M.Zakharova said that Russia accepts the entire incoming information on the use of chemical weapons in the UK with much concern. In Russia’s opinion, such inadequate accusations could be settled within the framework of Paragraph 2 of Article IX “Consultations, Cooperation and Fact-Finding” of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and Their Destruction (CWC) of 1993, what envisages filing the official request of the UK government to the Russian Federation or the Executive Council to receive the explanations about any doubtful issues. After Great Britain files its request, the Russian side would have 10 days under the CWC to respond. Moreover, in accordance with the procedures set forth in the convention, should Britain be unsatisfied with the reply, the same convention gives it the right to convene an extraordinary session of the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to take the relevant decision. The CWC, which the UK has signed and ratified, stipulates a series of such steps. If the British side does not want to use these mechanisms, the 1959 European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters would be another option.

On March 15 the OPCW Director General A. Uzumcu received a letter from the UK Prime minister Teresa May where she proposed to “conduct independent examination of the British investigation results”. A. Uzumcu informed Great Britain that his organisation was ready to send the expert group to provide assistance if the UK conducted “some internal procedures”. We hope that it implies the declassification of the Scotland Yard records.

At the meeting in New York on March 18, 2018, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya put forth our position, replying politely and in a well-argued manner to totally impolite and unsubstantiated allegations. He proposed adopting a document on the investigation of this accident based on the above mentioned Convention. The British representative blocked the adoption of this proposal.

The actions of the UK authorities are a clear provocation. The Russian Federation was not involved in the incident that took place in Salisbury on March 4, 2018. Moscow will expect to receive samples of the chemical substance to which the UK investigators are referring and until the UK demonstrates compliance with the CWC that stipulates a joint investigation into the incident, for which Moscow is ready. Without that, there can be no sense in any statements from London. The incident appears to be yet another crooked attempt by the UK authorities to discredit Russia on the eve of the Presidential election and 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Embassy of Russia in Botswana

On the recent developments in Syria

12.02.2018

The humanitarian situation in Syria remains difficult. Given these circumstances, Russia continues to deploy multidimensional efforts to provide aid to the civilian population, both by directly bringing in humanitarian supplies, and facilitating the work of international humanitarian bodies.

Russia has repeatedly called on all parties to stop the hostilities. This is the goal of the agreements by guarantor countries under the Astana process – Russia, Turkey and Iran. Efforts are underway to implement these agreements. However, such work is not going smoothly because of active resistance by terrorists and extremists who are doing their best to disrupt the processes of establishing peaceful life and who do not want to see Syria a united, sovereign and independent state.

Clearly, the situation in each of the above problem areas has its own specifics. The attempts to put the entire burden of responsibility solely on the official Syrian authorities are groundless. It is clear from past experience that many of our Western colleagues tend to avoid thoughtful analysis of developments in Syria. They already know in advance who is to blame for everything.

Raqqa has turned into a ghost city in the wake of massive bombardment by the US-led “anti-ISIS” coalition in the autumn of 2017. More than 80 per cent of the buildings in this city have been destroyed. The mine clearance effort is moving very slowly. In fact, no one is doing it.

Rukban camp located next to the border with Jordan cannot be accessed, because it is located inside a “security area” which was illegally and without prior arrangement created by the United States. In fact, the US troops have this area under their control.

The escalation of tension outside Afrin, where no Syrian government troops are present at the moment, was caused by the United States supporting its “clients” despite Washington's assurances of supporting Syria’s territorial integrity.

On the night of 9 to 10 February, and on the morning of 10 February, Israeli aircraft dealt several missile strikes on targets in Syria, including those on the border of the de-escalation zone in the south-west of the Republic. The loss among the Syrians and the material damage resulting from these attacks are yet to be confirmed. In Moscow these developments caused serious apprehension. Of particular concern is the danger of escalating tension within and around de-escalation zones in Syria, the creation of which has become an important factor in reducing violence.

In this regard, the Russian Federation urges all parties involved to exercise restraint and to avoid any actions that could lead to an even greater complication of the situation. It is necessary to unconditionally respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and other countries of the region.

Embassy of Russia in Botswana

On the XXII St. Petersburg International Economic Forum

10.01.2018

The next XXII St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) will take place on May 24–26, 2018.

St. Petersburg International Economic Forum is a leading international economic and business forum held annually in Russia. It was established in 1997. Since 2006 SPIEF has been held under the patronage of the President of the Russian Federation. Over its twenty years of history SPIEF has built a reputation of the most important international political and economic event in Russia. The Forum affirmed its relevance as a universally recognized venue for open and frank exchange of opinions between heads of state and government, international organizations and instiutions, representatives of business elite, academia, civil society and the media, establishing trustworthy business contacts.

There is growing international attention to SPIEF from various parts of the world, including Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Africa. Representatives of numerous foreign countries and companies traditionally choose the St. Petersburg Forum as an effective tool for promoting their investment projects.

Last year the Forum brought together a record number of participants – over 14,000 business representatives, heads of international organizations, officials, experts, scientists, and media from more than 143 countries. Among them were heads of 700 Russian and 400 foreign companies. Over 900 speakers and moderators took part in the Forum covering a wide range of topics including socio-economic development, energy, transportation, the environment, healthcare, culture, tourism, education, and science. 475 investment agreements and memorandums were concluded for a total amount of $ 30 bln. American business had the largest representation at the SPIEF-2017. In total, 560 people from 140 companies came from the US.

The programme of the Forum included a business roundtable under the theme “Russia–Africa: a Structural Approach To Cooperation In The New Economic Reality”. It got together representatives of African political circles and private sector, including such prominent figures as the then Vice-President of Zimbabwe Phelekezela Mphoko and the Second Vice-President of Burundi Joseph Butore.

Updated information about SPIEF-2018 is available at the official website http://www.forumspb.com/en.

Embassy of Russia in Botswana


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