Remarks by President Jacob Zuma at the Media Briefing on the Conclusion of Official Talks during his Official Visit to the Russian Federation Moscow, 5 August 2010

His Excellency President Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation,
Ladies and Gentlemen of the media;

We have just concluded successful official talks between our two delegations.

We are satisfied and pleased with the cordial and fruitful manner in which the talks have been conducted. This has confirmed that this was a meeting between two historical friends.

The relations between South Africa and Russia date back to the solidarity and friendship during our struggle for liberation.

South Africans and indeed many Africans will always fondly remember that selfless support by the people of this country and surroundings during the moment of great need when many of our countries in the African continent were fighting for their freedom and independence.

We have noted the tragedy that has befallen Russia. Running fires have tragically claimed the lives of many citizens, and continue to affect many others.

On behalf of the Government and the people of South Africa, I wish to convey our deep-felt condolences during this difficult period.
Mr President,

Our delegation on this visit comprises eleven Ministers and a business delegation of more than 100 people.

The business delegation represents sectors such as agro-processing, Aviation, Banking and Finance, Defence and Aerospace, Energy, Engineering, information and communications technology, Infrastructure, Logistics, Medical and Health Services and Tourism.

The size of the government and business delegation emphasises our commitment to consolidate and further deepen bilateral relations with this country, within the context of the Treaty of Friendship and Partnership that was signed in 2006.

This Treaty affirmed the South Africa-Russia strategic partnership.

After our successful talks, we are convinced that this visit will afford us an opportunity to further consolidate and enhance relations at both the bilateral and multilateral levels.

We seek to strengthen economic and trade relations, by focusing on the implementation of existing projects piloted through the Inter-Governmental Committee on Trade and Economic Development.

We also want to identify new opportunities that can further enhance the shared development and modernization agenda of our two countries.

We are confident that the visit will also stimulate and enhance people-to-people ties and cultural exchanges, which are the bedrock upon which the friendship between the two countries and their respective peoples is based.

We are delighted at the success of the Ministerial meetings during this visit. These culminated in the signing of the Final Protocol of the 9th ITEC yesterday here in Moscow.

We are also pleased with recent joint successes between our two countries, such as the launch of South African satellite Sumbandila, by Russia in September 2009.

This has increased co-operation in the fields of science and technology and space research.

There is a shared recognition that there is considerable room for further enhanced co-operation in all sectors.

At a multilateral level, our two countries share a commitment to the promotion of a more equitable distribution of power and influence in the global political and economic systems.

We also uphold the primacy of international law and the centrality of the United Nations.

We are therefore natural partners who can contribute towards the progressive development of an equitable global governance system, in partnership with other like-minded countries.

During this visit, we are delighted to have signed, among others, two main agreements and a Memorandum of Understanding.

We look forward to the effective implementation of the agreements on cooperation in the Field of Plant Quarantine and one relating to the Waiver of Visa Requirements for Holders of Diplomatic or Service or Official Passports.

The Memorandum of Understanding between our respective space agencies will take our collaboration to greater heights in this field.

We are generally satisfied with the substantial progress made thus far during this visit.

We would like to see more interaction between the two governments going forward.

We will also encourage continuous and fruitful interaction between members of the South Africa-Russia Business Council to grow our trade relations.

Most importantly, we look forward to hosting the President of the Russian Federation in South Africa for an official visit in 2012.

I thank you.
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