Minister Dlamini Zuma to Co-Chair the South Africa – Russia (ITEC) Intersessional Meeting, 25 November 2008, Durban
Pretoria – South African Foreign Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and the Russian Federation Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology, Mr Yuri Trutnev will, on Tuesday 25 November 2008, co-chair the Inter-sessional meeting of the Inter-governmental Committee on Trade and Economic Co-operation (ITEC) in Durban, South Africa.
The Inter-sessional meeting is a bilateral mechanism aimed at consolidating and strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries. The Seventh ITEC Session was held in Moscow from 22-23 May 2008, and mainly focused on the following areas: Agriculture, Education, Health, Minerals and Energy, Science and Technology, Transport, Trade and Industry, Justice, and Water and Forestry.
In the recent past ITEC has witnessed the expansion of co-operation in mining with the Russian Federation expressing an interest to implement technology exchange programmes and develop a coordinated strategy for deep mining of raw diamonds, precious metals and beneficiation technologies.
In turn South Africa requested the Russian Federation to identify exploration in mining projects in coal, uranium and Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) for implementation in the Russian Federation by South African-Russian joint venture enterprises. In this regard, there were discussions between the South African State Diamond Company and the Russian Federation’s diamond company, Alrosa to explore ways and means to co-operate in diamond explorations and beneficiation in both countries. A commitment was made to resolve the outstanding Manganese Kalahari Project shareholder issues.
In the field of regard to energy, an urgent need to fast track co-operation between the South African Oil and Gas Company PetroSA and Rosneft and Gazprom, Russian Oil and Gas Multinationals was identified. Both countries expressed an interest to use the ECOMAG system designed for broad range of hydrologic and nature protection applied tasks of diagnosis and forecasting to ensure information provision of central and regional bodies on environmentally safe management of water resources of river basins. On forestry, the two countries agreed on the development of an information system of space monitoring of landscapes, forest fires and aviation protection of landscapes from forest fires. These measures will contribute effectively to environmentally friendly usage of resources and the prevention of global warming and climate change.
The Inter-sessional meeting will measure progress in these and other critical areas and endeavour to ease blockages in the implementation of the agreed programmes between the two countries.
As the most important mechanism underpinning bilateral relations for mutual political, trade and economic interests, ITEC has contributed to the bilateral relations reaching the level of a strategic partnership.
South Africa and Russia also co-operate in multilateral fora since South Africa is a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
Issued by Mr Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853
Department of Foreign Affairs
Private bag X 152
24 November 2008