By The Citizen Reporters
- Although Foreign Affairs ministry neither confirmed nor denied the reports, sources in the diplomatic mission confided to The Citizen on Saturday that there have been behind-the-scenes activities to ensure the success of the visit.
Although Foreign Affairs ministry neither confirmed nor denied the reports, sources in the diplomatic mission confided to The Citizen on Saturday that there have been behind-the-scenes activities to ensure the success of the visit.
The minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Bernard Membe, declined to confirm reports on the tour, but revealed that he would be travelling to Moscow next month to honour an invitation from his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
Mr Membe said he had no information about the visit and that any development on the said tour, if any, would be known after his visit.
“What I can tell you at the moment is that I have been invited to Moscow next month. I will definitely go, and I will only be in a position to say anything upon our discussion,” he said.
The Russian embassy in Dar es Salaam said it could not confirm on the visit for it had no information from Moscow.
“What I know is that our foreign affairs minister met with his Tanzanian counterpart in New York during the Security Council summit. The visit you are talking about could be one of the issues they discussed,” said a senior official at the embassy. Putin’s tour will come just over a year since Tanzania received leaders of two global superpowers — Chinese President Xi Jinping in March last year and US President Barack Obama three months later.
The timing and the political implications of the Russian leader’s visit to Tanzania is an issue already generating reactions from international relations experts and other observers.
One thing that is clear is that Mr Putin is likely to take advantage of the tour to promote once strong economic and political relationships the two countries previously enjoyed before the fall of communism in the early 1990s.
Experts also say Tanzania, which is struggling to develop its gas and oil industry following the discovery of huge deposits of natural gas, stands good chances of benefiting from the tour of the leader of a country with great expertise in the area.
On the other hand they say, Mr Putin will want to secure some business agreements for Russia oil and natural gas companies at this time the Eastern country is facing difficulties in meeting domestic and export obligations.
Ms Saumu Jumanne, an assistant lecturer at the Dar es Salaam University College of Education, said that it did not come as a surprise that the Russian president plans a tour of Tanzania after the US and Chinese presidents.