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Wednesday, 04 November 2009 10:32

New Era for Govt, Russian Relations

Pretoria, October 28 (BuaNews) — South Africa and Russia have agreed to increase their cooperation in various fields, including technology, energy, trade and investment.


International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane and the Russian Minister of Natural Resources Yuri Petrovich Trutnev held talks in Cape Town on Tuesday, where they discussed amongst other things, ways to enhance cooperation and relationships that already existed between the two governments, their people and businesses.


The meeting, ahead of President Jacob Zuma's state visit to Russia in 2010, looked at ways of ensuring smooth bilateral cooperation, departmental spokesperson Nomfanelo Kota said.


"This will facilitate economic competitiveness, develop skills, generate sustainable jobs and contribute towards an improvement in the livelihoods of the peoples of South Africa and Russia."


It emphasised the importance of making further progress on the signing and implementation of bilateral agreements.


A South Africa-Russian Federation Business Council, which formed part of the talks, discussed trade relations and committed to frequently getting together to discuss potential business opportunities, as well as the possible transfers of skills, such as in technology sectors.


The ministers noted with satisfaction that the annual ITEC sessions serve as an invaluable platform for enhancing bilateral trade, economic and technical cooperation between South Africa and Russia.


"The ministers expressed the view that ITEC, which facilitates mutually beneficial programmes and projects that contribute towards the achievement of the national development priorities of South Africa and Russia, is a leading example of a dynamic North -South partnership," explained Kota.


The 8th Session of ITEC takes place within the context of strengthening North -South Dialogue and against the backdrop of solid relations between the two countries with a particularly deep and extensive cooperation in the field of scientific research.


"South Africa regards the Russian Federation as a strategic partner; close bilateral and multilateral ties exist between the two countries," the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said in a statement.


While there is currently no structured mechanism for political dialogue between South Africa and Russia, it said the ITEC serves as the mechanism for broadening and deepening economic and trade ties.


"ITEC tends to be the engine room for the generation of new bilateral agreements and for reviewing and bolstering implementation of those agreements."


The session will also serve as a preparatory meeting for the envisaged state visit by President Zuma to the Russian Federation in 2010.


In addition South Africa and Russia jointly launched the South African satellite, Sumbandilasat, at the Russian space facility in Kazakhstan in September.


The next such meeting would be held in Moscow in 2010.


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