The president of the Russian Federation Council (Senate), Valentina Matviyenko, on Tuesday called Mozambique a “reliable partner”, recalling Russia’s support in “all the stages” the African country has gone through.
“For Russia, Mozambique is a reliable partner,” Valentina Matviyenko said moments after signing an agreement to expand cooperation between the Russian and Mozambican parliaments as part of a two-day working visit to Maputo.
Valentina Matvienko, the third most important Russian state figure, also highlighted the historical relations between the two countries, stressing Moscow’s help in “all the stages that Mozambique went through”, from support in the liberation struggle against the Portuguese colonial regime to the training of Mozambican managers in Russia.
“Our country supported Mozambique in its struggle for independence, and at every stage, Russia gave Mozambique assistance in the social and economic fields. Russia always gave Mozambique a shoulder in the most difficult moments of its history,” Valentina Matviyenko stressed during a press conference, in which the Russian invasion of Ukraine was not addressed, and there was room for only two questions, one for the Russian press and the other for the Mozambican media.
“We feel that our Mozambican partners also have the intention to develop the partnership with Russia,” Valentina Matviyenko added.
Valentina Matviyenko’s visit to Mozambique results from an invitation made in October by the president of the Mozambican parliament, Esperança Bias.
“Her presence reflects the cooperation, friendship and mutual respect between our countries. Our relations date back to the time of the armed struggle, and these relations remain,” stressed the president of the Mozambican parliament.
The agreement signed by the two leaders aims to strengthen cooperation between the two parliaments, focusing on the exchange of experiences and sharing of information.
Matviyenko is one of the Russian personalities subject to sanctions by the United States of America and the European Union (assets frozen and no visa rights) since 2014 due to his role in Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea.
Mozambique was one of 38 countries that abstained from the UN General Assembly vote. An overwhelming majority passed a resolution holding Russia responsible for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine due to the war.
Of the 193 United Nations member states, the resolution, tabled by France and Mexico and supported by Ukraine, received 140 votes in favour, five against and 38 abstentions, in a group that, besides Mozambique, includes Angola and Guinea-Bissau.
The Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo, a party in power since independence) was an ally of Moscow during the time of the former USSR, receiving military support during the fight against Portuguese colonialism and economic aid after independence in 1975.
Russia launched a military offensive in Ukraine on 24 February that has killed more than 4,000 civilians, according to the UN, which warns that the actual number is likely to be much higher.
According to the latest UN figures, the war has caused more than eight million people to flee, including more than 6.6 million out of the country.
The international community condemned the Russian invasion in general, which responded by sending arms to Ukraine and strengthening economic and political sanctions against Moscow.