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Saturday, 30 August 2014 15:59

Putin and Zuma Commit to Strengthening Ties

ZumaRus2013PRETORIA, South Africa, August 30, 2014 (SA Info) — President Jacob Zuma, who is on a week-long working visit to Russia, met counterpart Vladimir Putin, on August 28, to discuss among others the repatriation of South African fallen heroes who are buried there.

These include former South African Communist Party leaders Moses Kotane and Ivor David Jones and J.B. Marks. Kotane went to the Soviet Union to study at the Lenin School in Moscow. He later suffered a stroke and died in 1978.

In a statement issued after the meeting, which was held at the Novo-Ogarevo Presidential Residence, the Presidency indicated that there are discussions and arrangements that are ongoing between the two countries about how the repatriation process should be handled.

He thanked the government of Russia for taking care of the heroes.

SA, Russia strengthen bilateral relations

Presidents Zuma and Putin then committed themselves to working together in strengthening bilateral relations of both countries and further cementing the existing relations between the two countries for the economic and social development of their peoples.

"President Putin welcomed the visit by President Zuma to Russia... . he further encouraged both countries to work together in implementing the decisions that were taken last year during the state visit of South Africa to Russia. He emphasised the need for Russian and South African Ministers to work together in taking forward the bilateral agreements," Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj said.

President Zuma also used the meeting to seek support from Russia on the implementation of the new government's priorities around the delivery of basic services like water, sanitation, energy, education, agriculture and tourism.

The two sides also touched on the trade relations between them. Through the joint Russia-South Africa Business Council, trade between South Africa and Russia grew by 13 percent in 2013 which represents a significant growth in trade between the two countries.

President Putin commended this growth, saying that investment from Russia to South Africa now stands at over a billion US dollars a year.

According to Maharaj, President Putin reaffirmed his commitment to work together with South Africa on a number of issues that face the globe, including participation in peace-making and peace-keeping efforts spearheaded by South Africa in the continent.

Ukraine issue

He briefed President Zuma on the situation in the Ukraine and underlined his commitment to finding a peaceful solution to the crisis.

Russia has come under fire recently after tensions in Ukraine were heightened after Ukrainian military leaders claimed that Russia launched an incursion into Ukraine's eastern region, where violent confrontation between government troops and independence-seeking insurgents is under way. Russia denied sending weapons and soldiers to help the rebels.

Middle East

The two Presidents also discussed issues around the developments in the Middle East, in particular around the resolution of the Israeli-Palestine conflict through peaceful means. Both countries committed themselves to finding a lasting peaceful solution.


On Africa, they discussed assistance sought on peaceful missions that South Africa is involved in, including request for support of the African Capacity to Respond to Immediate Crisis (ACIRIC) process.

With Russia taking over the leadership of BRICS group next year, President Putin also used the meeting to sought the assistance and support of South Africa. Both the countries are members of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa group of developing countries.

The two sides further committed to strengthening of tourism, cultural exchanges, education and people to people relationships. (END)



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