On May 23, talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of Republic of the Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso were held in the Kremlin. Leaders of the two countries discussed important issues of bilateral relations, in particular, in energy sectors, processing industry and agriculture.

Vladimir Putin pointed out that relations between Russia and the Congo have always been friendly. According to him, the current trade turnover between the countries increased by over 60%, though, is still moderate in absolute values. However, there is a potential for growth in several industries. In conclusion, the Russian leader invited his counterpart to attend the first Russia – Africa summit, which will be held on October 24, 2019 in Sochi.

President of the Congo Denis Sassou-Nguesso, in turn, thanked Vladimir Putin for the warm welcome, expressing confidence that the talks will help relations between the two countries to reach a new level.

“The Congo occupies a strategic position in Central Africa. And now, fortunately, we see full conciliation in the Central Africa region. At the same time, there are certain alarming signs, such as the rampant terrorists in the west of Cameroon. The Congo plays a stabilizing role in Africa. And we hope that Russia will act side by side with us to create peace in the African region,” the head of Republic of the Congo said.

The Congo was affected by the economic crisis that came to the country with the decline in oil prices. However, Sassou Nguesso assured that the situation is gradually changing for the better. The Congolese leader said that his Government was currently negotiating a loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund and expressed his hope to get support in this matter from Russian friends.

Following the talks between Vladimir Putin and Denis Sassou Nguesso, a number of documents were signed, namely: intergovernmental agreements on cooperation in mass communications and in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, supplement to the agreement on the settlement of the Congo’s debt to the Russian Federation under previously issued loans, agreement on cooperation between the ministries of internal affairs, memorandum of understanding on cooperation in agriculture, contract for Russian military experts assignment to Republic of the Congo, as well as a package of business documents related to the oil sector.

The foreign trade turnover between Russia and Republic of the Congo amounted to US $22.8 million in 2017 and US $38.4 million – in 2018, which resulted from the increased supply of Russian food products and agricultural raw materials to the Congo last year.

Russia and the Congo have long-standing close relations. President Nguesso visited the Soviet Union and the USSR-Congo Treaty of friendship and cooperation was concluded upon his initiative, while the Minister of National Defense Charles Richard Mondjo graduated from the Malinovsky Military Armored Forces Academy. This visit is in line with the trend of Russian expansion in Africa. Russia already cooperates closely with the CAR, a neighbor of Republic of the Congo, mainly in the military sphere and until recently kept relations with the ruling elite of the DRC.

Today it became known that Russia is sending military experts to Congo to train local officer personnel and to maintain combat performance of military equipment, which confirms the stated interest of both countries to support peace in the region.