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Russian Ambassador unveils bilateral ties with Malaysia

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Kuala Lumpur, 12 February 2024 (TDI): The Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Malaysia, Naiyl M. Latypov, provided insights into the diplomatic landscape between Russia and Malaysia on the eve of Diplomatic Worker Day.

Ambassador Latypov’s interview with the Russian state-owned news agency shed light on the readiness of the new Sultan of Malaysia, Sultan Ibrahim, to engage in dialogue with Russia.

Ambassador Latypov highlighted Russia’s “general strategy” to strengthen ties with diverse countries in the Asia-Pacific region. As an influential member of ASEAN, OIC, and NAM, he regarded Malaysia as a “reliable and time-tested partner” of Russia.

Economic and business cooperation

Ambassador Latypov underscored the active engagement of both countries in the chemical industry, woodworking, high technology, and cybersecurity. He regarded the second meeting of the joint Russian-Malaysian Commission on Economic, Scientific, Technical, and Cultural Cooperation, held in November 2023 as a significant milestone of bilateral relations.

The commission discussed areas of cooperation in the economic sphere, financial sector, agricultural industry, and humanitarian field, setting specific development tasks, he added.

Russian ambassador expressed optimism that Malaysia does not follow Western “anti-Russian narratives” evident from the positive trajectory of economic ties between the two countries.

“In 2023, mutual trade turnover increased slightly and amounted to about three billion dollars”, he added.

Scientific and educational collaboration

The interview emphasized the increasing scientific and educational collaboration, including restored contacts between academies of sciences and enhanced dialogue among young scientists in both countries.

Additionally, recognizing Malaysia as an English-speaking country, Russia actively promotes educational opportunities for its youth to explore in Malaysia.

Ambassador Latypov expressed the commitment to continue working with Malaysian educational institutions and “expand the geography and number of student and school exchange initiatives.”

Cultural and historical initiatives

The interview touched upon various collaborative initiatives in the field of “preserving architectural and historical heritage, religious and cultural values.”

Notably, the project documenting the oldest Juma mosque in Russia in Derbent showcased the collaborative efforts in preserving cultural heritage.

Ambassador Latypov added that inter-museum contacts are underway. Plans for an exhibition of Islamic art from the Hermitage collection in Malaysia to further strengthen cultural ties are also in progress.

Political and international cooperation

Regarding Sultan Ibrahim’s accession to the throne for the next five years, Ambassador Latypov expressed an “extremely positive impression.” He cited the Sultan as an “experienced, businesslike, and results-oriented ruler.”

He added that Russia and Malaysia stand united in their support for the Palestinian people and the State of Palestine. Both countries advocate for a comprehensive and fair settlement in the Middle East, adhering to international legal frameworks and resolutions.

“We are like-minded people” on several issues on the sidelines of the “UN and other multilateral formats, for example, APEC”, he said.

Also Read: Russia exposes Kosovo crisis, urges UN intervention

Tourism, food security and space

During the interview, tourism prospects between the two countries were also discussed. Ambassador Lapytov emphasized the efforts made for the “abolition of visa requirements for both Russians arriving in Malaysia and Malaysians coming to us.

He also expressed Russia’s readiness to assist Malaysia in ensuring food security. “We are ready to help Malaysians and become their reliable partner in the supply of agro-industrial products, including livestock products”, he said.

He highlighted Russia and Malaysia’s long-standing partnership in the space sector. It included collaboration in commercial launches, satellite construction, manned spaceflight, and specialized education.

He added that Malaysia’s ambition to become an ASEAN space hub aligns with Russia’s offerings in the space industry.

BRICS expansion and de-dollarization efforts

Lastly, the collaboration between the two countries in terms of BRICS expansion and de-dollarization efforts was discussed. While Malaysia closely monitors the development of BRICS, the ambassador clarified, “There is no talk of connecting Kuala Lumpur to BRICS yet”.

He appreciated Malaysia’s efforts to use national currencies in settlements with countries like China, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Turkey.

“For our part, we are also ready to develop this area of ​​interaction with Kuala Lumpur. We are confident that such a step would contribute to the growth of mutual trade”, he concluded.

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