July 13, 2017 – Yuri Nemtsev, columnist of the magazine “International Affairs”
During his stay in Russia, the Ambassador of Grenada, Oleg Firer, achieved what some do not achieve in a year. This gives huge hopes for a new breath in bilateral relations. This opinion was expressed by Deputy Director of the Latin American Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russian Federation, Nikolay Sofinsky on July 12, 2017 in Moscow within the framework of the round table “Cooperation between the Russian Federation and Grenada in the Humanitarian, Cultural, Scientific and Tourist Fields” organized by the Commission for the Development of Public Diplomacy, Humanitarian Cooperation and the Preservation of Traditional Values Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation.
The first ambassador of Grenada in Russia, Oleg Firer, was appointed to his post by the order of Queen Elizabeth II two months ago. In June, in an interview with our magazine, the Grenadian representative has already stated that he is committed to developing active cooperation with Russia. Today we managed to make sure that the Russian-Grenada dialogue acquires a concrete content and has good prospects.
During the event, the main directions of cooperation between our countries were determined, projects were developed through the institutions of civil society of Russia and Grenada, prospects for cooperation between our countries in the field of culture, education, science and tourism were discussed. From the side of the Civic Chamber and the Russian project “Russian Worldwide” issues of promotion of the Russian language and culture in Grenada, exchanges of students, cross cultural days and thematic cultural exhibitions were raised. In addition, in the central lobby of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation photo exhibition “Nature and attractions of Grenada” was opened for viewing.
As noted by the deputy head of the Latin American Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry Nikolay Sofinsky, the embassy of Grenada is the only diplomatic mission of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Russia, since July this country presides in this organization. He stressed that now Grenada has seized the initiative in promoting a single CARICOM embassy in Russia, and given the semi-annual chairmanship in this organization, it may well advance in this matter. In addition, Nikolai Sofinsky recalled that now the draft agreement on CARICOM’s cooperation with the EAEC has been elaborated.
At the same time, Nikolay Sofinsky called trade between our countries, which amounted to only 14 thousand dollars for the past year, was not serious. And it consists exclusively of exports from Grenada (70 percent are spices, 30 machinery and equipment). The Russian diplomat called for assistance in the development of trade between Russia and Grenada. As a practical step, Nikolay Sofinsky proposed to draw the attention of the Grenadian side to the National Committee for the Promotion of Economic Cooperation with the Countries of Latin America (NC SESLA). “The structure is very effective and active,” the Russian diplomat said. “It allows us to accumulate interests of the business community.” He reported on the establishment of a separate project based on the SC SESLA, focused on the Caribbean region, stressing that “NK SESLA is waiting for you”.
In turn, the Ambassador of Grenada in Russia, Oleg Firer, said that his country would like to develop relations with Russia from the position of a regional player, from the point of view of interaction through CARICOM. In the commercial sphere, Grenada, like other countries of the Community, is interested in importing various goods from Russia, as well as in cooperation with the EAEC. “In the field of tourism, Grenada wants not only to attract Russian tourists to the country, but also to invite our citizens to get acquainted with Russia – this is a big country, there is something to see,” continued Ambassador of Grenada. Responding to the proposal from the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, he also noted that Grenada “is ready to hold (cross-cultural) cultural days in 2018”.
In her speech, Elena Sutormina, Chairperson of the Commission for the Development of Public Diplomacy, Humanitarian Cooperation and the Preservation of Traditional Values of the Russian Federation, spoke about an important program actively promoted jointly with Russian Worldwide, on the study of the Russian language and literature through multimedia books – “The Russian Corner”. As the public figure noted, taking into account the fact that “the relationship (between Russia and Grenada) will grow stronger, interest in the Russian language will grow.” A corresponding letter on cooperation will be sent on behalf of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation to the Ambassador of Grenada in the near future.
The head of the project “Russian Worldwide” Artur Mogutov described in detail the program “Russian Corner”, noting that “for the preparation of students planning education in Russia, we are developing this project. We propose to Grenada to allocate on the basis of one of the universities a class with a computer where all the necessary software will be installed. The goal of this program is not only to acquire basic skills of the Russian language, but also to acquire knowledge about the culture and history of Russia. This is absolutely free humanitarian project, which has been working in 34 countries for more than 5 years,” said Arthur Mogutov.
In addition, the head of “Russian Worldwide” stressed the need and expressed his willingness to help organize roundtables, humanitarian and cultural events linking Russia with the CARICOM countries. Among them was a joint photo contest on the themes of the countries of the Caribbean Community, with the assistance of the Embassy of Grenada and the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation. The last proposal has received immediate support and approval from both the Russian and the Grenadian sides, preparations will begin this fall.
Representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nikolay Sofinsky also stressed that the diplomatic mission is interested in more dense interaction with the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on international issues. At the same time, he stressed the supervisory role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the development of relations with foreign partners, including the regions of Russia. He gave an example of the fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already received notifications of interest in developing relations with the Grenadian regions from the Yaroslavl, Krasnodar and Smolensk regions. He is confident that, in cooperation with the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation and the “Russian Worldwide” project, it will be possible to increase the number of interacting regions with foreign partners.
At the same time, Artur Mogutov noted that on the basis of the “Russian Worldwide” project an informal business and cultural club of interaction with Grenada has already been formed, 23 regions of the Russian Federation expressed interest in participating.
In a conversation with the correspondent of the magazine “International Affairs” Nikolay Sofinsky, Deputy Director of the Latin American Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spoke about the role of Grenada and CARICOM in Russia’s foreign policy. “The CARICOM countries are important for Russia politically. These are 15 countries, each of which has a full-fledged voice in international organizations, primarily in the UN, “Nikolay Sofinsky stressed. “Political dialogue is worth it.” As for economic, trade and investment relations, we are open and interested in cooperation. Unfortunately, while the volume of these ties is not the greatest, we are for raising the level of cooperation with CARICOM in all areas, including, we are ready to move in those areas that are most beneficial for our partners from the Caribbean Community. We have something to offer. We will also be happy to accept their culture and national traditions. ”
“Today, concrete directions for the development of the dialogue (with Grenada) were discussed,” Nikolay Sofinsky summed up. “We already render and are ready to render further diplomatic assistance in this matter.”
Source: International Affairs