The Russia-Africa summit that will take place on October 24 will be an unprecedented and benchmark event, Russian President Vladimir Putin told TASS.
"We will shortly be witnessing an unprecedented, benchmark event: on October 24, Sochi will host the Russia-Africa Summit. This will be the first full-scale top-level meeting, to which we have invited leaders of African states and heads of Africa's major regional associations," the Russian leader said.
The idea to organize such an event emerged long ago but it has taken some time and considerable preparatory work to make this summit "a starting point for building fair partnership relations based on equality and mutual practical interest," Putin said.
Russia and African states have traditionally enjoyed friendly and time-tested relations, the Russian head of state noted.
"Our country has played a significant role in the liberation of the continent, supporting the struggle of its peoples against colonialism, racism and apartheid," Putin said.
Later on, we helped the Africans to protect their independence and sovereignty, gain statehood, form the basis for national economies, and create capable armed forces," he added.
Soviet and subsequently Russian specialists built important infrastructure facilities, hydroelectric power plants, roads and industrial plants in Africa while thousands of Africans received a quality professional education at Russian universities, Putin noted.
"This is well remembered by many current African leaders, who value our support. We too keep the memory of those pages of history," the president said.
"Today, the development and strengthening of mutually beneficial ties with African countries and their integration associations is one of Russia's foreign policy priorities," the Russian leader stressed.