Sierra Leone Embassy in Russia hosts African Ambassadors in Virtual confab
By Festus J Lahai, Information Attache', Moscow, Russia
The Sierra Leone Embassy in Russia on Wednesday October 28, 2020 hosted African Ambassadors based in Russia in a virtual conference.
Over thirty-one (31) African Ambassadors and Diplomatic Representatives attended the webinar conference.
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Mohamed Yongawo summarised events around the African continent, citing the current COVID-19 pandemic, the conduct of recent elections and the 'End SARS' incident in Nigeria.
Ambassador Yongawo thanked his colleagues for attending the meeting which he described as the new normal and stressed the importance of using webinar platforms to discuss pertinent issues affecting the peace and development of Africa and Africans.
“The world was predicting that the COVID-19 pandemic was going to destroy our people and that Africans were going to die like chickens; but fortunately that has not happened and by God's grace it would not happen,” he said.
He applauded the actions taken by the various governments in minimising the impact of COVID-19 on the people but cautioned that COVID-19 is real, which is why Africans must be implored to continue following rules and regulations laid down by respective governments in line with the World Health Organisation.
Welcoming Ambassadors, Dean of African Ambassadors, Ambassador Mahamat Paba Sale of Cameroon appreciated the Sierra Leone Embassy in Russia and particularly Ambassador Yongawo for the good work he is doing, including the extraordinary effort to host African Ambassadors in Russia.
The Ambassador of Ghana, Lesley Akyaa Opoku, introduced two Russian guests during the meeting; Madam Marina, International Director of Museum and Culture and Madam Anna, Foreign Director of African Centre for Arts and Culture who are working in developing a concept of African and Russian Culture and Heritage, bringing African Arts to Russian Museums. The primary goal is to enable citizens of the Russian Federation to learn more about the richness and the diversity of the African Culture.
On the suggestion of the Rwandan Ambassador H.E Lt. Gen. Frank Mushyo Kamanzi, the meeting unanimously agreed that the visitors furnish all Personnel of the African Embassies in Russia with details of their proposals so that these will be reviewed to make informed decisions.
On the recent elections in Guinea, Ambassador Mohamed Keita explained that like most events, the elections in Guinea were not devoid of incidents but that overall, it was free and fair as acknowledged by some international observers.
He added that the Guinean people voted Prof. Alpha Conde as President to continue his progressive agenda and the transformation of the lives of citizens.
Nigeria’s Charge d' Affairs, Mercy Hanura, reported on the ‘End SARS’ demonstration in the West African nation.
“The Nigerian government has thought about measures to prevent violence and respect for human rights and the laws of the country.The Federal Government assures all friendly countries and the International Community that SARS, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, has been banned from the Nigerian Police Force,” she stated.
She assured that the Federal government shall intensify the fight against corruption and maintain peace and stability at all times and further protect the lives and property of its citizens.
In response Ambassador Yongawo on behalf of his colleagues implored the peaceful resolution of the situation in Nigeria.
Dean Mahamat Paba Sale of Cameroon explained the current situation in his country which he described as unfortunate but assured that the government is doing all it can to restore normalcy.
In response, H.E Yongawo stated: “We stand with the people of Cameroon and pray for peace in the English Speaking Region and the whole country. As a United family, if our continent is peaceful, we’ll always have a lot to celebrate and our people will be happy.”
On the post-Sochi developments and exchange of information in the Russian Federation, the Ambassadors recommended that the Dean engage the Russian Foreign Ministry for further details.
The meeting also recommended that invitation be extended to Senior Representatives from the Health Ministry to attend the next meeting so that they can provide an update on the development of the Coronavirus Vaccine and other relevant health matters.