Guyana Looks to Russia for Support

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Above: Russian Ambassador Nikolay Smirnov and Guyanese President Donald Ramotar

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Russia’s advocacy at international fora such as the G8 and G20 can help small countries in their quest for reforms of the international system, according to Guyanese President Donald Ramotar.

Ramotar was speaking at a reception celebrating Russia’s National Day this week with Russian Ambassador Nikolay Smirnov, when he called on Russia to “join the bandwagon,” particularly as it pursues a path of sustainable development.

Smirnov said Russia supports Guyana’s position on climate change, along with the need for cooperation during the upcoming Rio+20 summit in neighbouring Brazil next week.

Russia recently made a decision to write-off more than $50 million of Guyana’s bilateral debt, a decision Ramotar said he hoped could help the government channel “much needed resources” to developments, particularly in the social sector.

“This action by Russia demonstrates its recognition of the special vulnerabilities developing countries such as ours,” Ramotar said.

On that front, Smirnov said Russia is ready to continue offering scholarships for Guyanese nationals to study in Russian universities. Some former recipients are returning to Guyana this year as trained doctors and economists.

This year Russia and Guyana mark 42 years of diplomatic relations.

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