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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Maputo on Wednesday that political issues would not interfere with ExxonMobil’s business with Rosneft in Mozambique.
“In Mozambique and everywhere in the world, we argue that economic interests should not be defined by political issues and we will think that this principle will be a priority here,” said the head of Russian diplomacy during a visit to Maputo.
US oil company ExxonMobil and Russia’s state-owned company Rosneft have been partners since 2015 in oil prospecting off the Mozambican coast, along with Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH).
However, the US company announced in February to investors that it will withdraw from joint projects with Rosneft following the sanctions of the United States and the European Union against Russia.
Asked by journalists after a meeting with Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, the Russian official said he was aware that the exploration consortium would “legalize future work” in Mozambique.
“If there are any problems with our Exxon partners, I think they should be discussed first among the consortium members and a solution must be defined,” he added.
“We will see how the economic interests of American companies will or will not be affected by the position of the American state,” said Sergey Lavrov.
The Russian Foreign Minister said the country “has plans” for the energy sector in Mozambique but has reserved them for the meeting of the intergovernmental joint committee, which will meet in Maputo in April to strengthen bilateral cooperation.
The ExxonMobil, Rosneft and ENH consortium received three exploration areas at the fifth and most recent hydrocarbon research competition in Mozambique in 2015.