Russia is planning to step up its diplomatic involvement in African issues including Sudan's Darfur crisis, the country's envoy to Sudan said on Sunday. Mikhail Margelov told reporters at the start of a six-day visit to Sudan that Moscow had an "open door" to anyone looking for support for development projects. Russia's involvement in Africa peaked during the days of the Cold War when it vied for influence over many of the continent's newly independent states with the United States. But Moscow's influence waned as the Cold War came to a close. China has since become a major player in Africa, and is now the biggest buyer of Sudanese oil. (Reuters)

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