Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mikhail Bogdanov and H.E Mohamed Yongawo
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Mohamed Yongawo, on Thursday, April 1, 2021, had a working meeting with the Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mikhail Bogdanov. The meeting was held at the Russian Federation Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On behalf of President Julius Maada Bio, the Government and the People of Sierra Leone, Ambassador Yongawo thanked President Putin, the Russian Government and the People of Russia for their continued support to Sierra Leone since both countries established bilateral relations some 59 years ago.
Ambassador Yongawo acknowledged the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry and the African Affairs Department for their support in carrying out his duties in Moscow.
During the meeting, the Sierra Leonean envoy and the Minister discussed matters of mutual interest to their two countries.
The Ambassador also used the occasion to restate the priority areas of President Bio’s New Direction Government. These included but not limited to Energy, Transportation, Human Capital Development (Education and Skills Training), Fisheries, Infrastructural development and Mining.
Ambassador Yongawo states: “I am very grateful to the Russian Government and particularly RUDN University for their support in awarding medical Scholarships to our citizens. I am however pleading with the Russia Government to consider lifting the travel restrictions so that Sierra Leonean students who have been awarded scholarships can travel to Russia to commence their studies, as we understand the travelling restrictions have been lifted for few countries. We however would like to acknowledge the opportunity that has been granted to our students during this period to access lectures online”.
Ambassador Yongawo reiterated his appeal for Russia to consider reopening its Embassy in Freetown or at least open a Consulate that will be capacitated to issue Visas to Sierra Leoneans and others who may want to travel to the Russian Federation, especially now that lots of Russians are engaged in business in Sierra Leone.
Ambassador Yongawo also registered appreciation of President Bio, the Government and the People of Sierra Leone and acknowledged the support of the Russia Federation in the fight against COVID-19, with 10,000 test kits and the free 50 garbage trucks provided for the West African country.
On his part, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Mikhail Bogdanov assured Ambassador Yongawo of his government’s commitment to continuing the bilateral relation with Sierra Leone. Mr Bagdanov also used the meeting to speak to the issue of the possibility of holding the next Russia-Africa Summit in Africa in 2022. He noted that consultations were ongoing and that in the nearest future the Sierra Leone government will be contacted.
Ambassador Yongawo and the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, among others who attended the meeting, shared memories of the 2019 October ‘Russia-Africa Summit’ in Sochi.
The Ambassador and the Minister discussed possible future official visits of Minister Nabeela Tunis and President Bio to the Russian Federation and the benefits of such visits to both nations.
Mr Dennis Nicol, Head of Chancery and Information Attaché Festus J. Lahai accompanied Ambassador Yongawo.