The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy today admitted the possibility of the country buying Russian oil in rubles, if this option is feasible, after Moscow presented Maputo’s availability for this mechanism.
“I am sure that we will study and verify the feasibility of this offer [from Russia] and, if there is feasibility, certainly [the Russian oil] will be acquired” in rubles, said Carlos Zacarias.
The minister was speaking to the media today, August 4, on the sidelines of the seventh Coordinating Council of the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy, which is being held in the southern province of Gaza.
Zacarias pointed out that Mozambique’s receptivity to the Russian proposal is due to the fact that the world is going through a “peculiar moment”, characterized by a great volatility of crude prices in the international market, due to the Russia-Ukraine war.
In this sense, continued Carlos Zacarias, the approach of the Mozambican authorities in relation to the price of oil will be determined by the behavior of the international market.
Zacarias denied anticipating a possible next increase in fuel prices, given the several increases that have already occurred this year. “In relation to the change in fuel prices, it has to do with factors such as the variation in the international market. Naturally, if this variation is above a well-defined level, there may be a change in fuel prices,” he declared.
Moscow’s proposal was put forward a week ago by the Russian ambassador to Mozambique, Alexander Surikov, after a meeting with CTA – Confederation of Mozambican Economic Associations.
“The ruble and the metical are worthy currencies that can be used and do not need the benevolence of some other countries that control the international system,” the Russian diplomat declared at the time, adding that Moscow wants to strengthen cooperation with Maputo.
According to data advanced by CTA, the annual volume of economic transactions between Mozambique and Russia were estimated at least 100 million dollars.
Mozambique was among the countries that abstained on two resolutions that were voted on at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly: one condemned Russia for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine due to the war and the other suspended Moscow from the Human Rights Council.
The Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo, the ruling party) was an ally of Moscow during the time of the former USSR, receiving military support during the struggle against Portuguese colonialism and economic aid after independence in 1975.
Russia launched a military offensive in Ukraine on February 24 that has killed more than 5,000 civilians, according to the UN, which warns that the actual number is likely to be much higher. The Russian military offensive has caused more than 16 million people to flee, more than 5.7 million of them out of the country, according to the latest UN figures. Also according to the UN, 15.7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Ukraine.
The Russian invasion was condemned by the international community in general, which responded by sending arms to Ukraine and strengthening economic and political sanctions on Moscow.