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Putin arrives in South Africa to participate in BRICS summit

March 26, 2013, 16:22 UTC+3

On Tuesday, Putin will have negotiations with his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma in a narrow format and then in an enlarged format

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DURBAN (South Africa), March 26 (Itar-Tass) – Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in the South African Republic, where he will participate in a BRICS summit (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) on Tuesday.

The airplane of the Russian leader landed at the international airport King Shaka, which is named after the most famous Zulu king, who united the scattered tribes at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

The port city Durban, where the local time is two hours behind the Moscow time, welcomed the BRICS summiteers with a warm, but cloudy and rainy weather that is quite natural, as it is the height of autumn in the southern hemisphere of the world.

On Tuesday, Putin will have negotiations with his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma in a narrow format and then in an enlarged format. A signing ceremony of bilateral documents will be held upon the results of the negotiations, then the leaders of the countries will make statements for the press, Russian Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov told Itar-Tass.

In the previous year the bilateral trade between the South African Republic and Russia went up 66% to reach 964 million dollars. The bilateral trade with South Africa can be increased manifold, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with the Itar-Tass news agency ahead of his visit to South Africa.

Zuma said on Monday that during the visit of the Russian president the leaders of the countries are expected to sign the declarations between the two countries on strategic partnership, as well as the documents on cooperation in the military-technical sphere, education, energy sector, science and technologies and the transport industry.

On Tuesday evening, the South African president will invite Putin and other BRICS leaders to attend a concert on the occasion of the opening of the BRICS summit and a reception in their honour. On this day the Russian president is also expected to have a bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Wednesday will be the main day of the BRICS summit, which is devoted to theme titled “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialization.” The leaders of five BRICS states will meet for two plenary meetings in a narrow format and one plenary meeting in an enlarged format, then representatives from the African countries will join them for a session of the BRICS leaders-Africa Dialogue Forum. The BRICS heads of states are also to have a working breakfast with representatives of the business community from the BRICS states.

Upon the results of meeting the BRICS leaders will adopt the eThekwini Declaration, which is named after the Durban municipal district where the summit will be held, as well as the eThekwini Action Plan. “The declaration will give an assessment of the current world political and economic situation and will reflect common approaches of the BRICS states on the most topical issues of multilateral cooperation,” Ushakov said. “The Action Plan concretizes the BRICS activity for the coming 12 months and includes new promising trends of cooperation,” he added.

The BRICS states are ready to establish a BRICS Bank of Development, Zuma said.

Along with economic issues the BRICS leaders also intend to discuss topical international issues, including the Syrian crisis, the situation over Iran and the Middle Eastern settlement.

“The BRICS states invariably confirm their adherence to the fundamental principles of international law, promote a stronger UN central role, call for the settlement of the conflicts in political and diplomatic ways and do not accept the policy of forcible pressure and encroachment of the sovereignty of other countries,” Ushakov noted.

The Russian presidential aide also noted that the president is expected to have several bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Durban summit, particularly with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. “I believe that the current situation in Syria will be prioritized at this meeting, as well as at the meetings with other leaders,” Ushakov said.

The schedule of other meetings is not approved yet, though there are some requests for this schedule, Ushakov said, “Everything will be settled in the course of the summit, other meetings on the sidelines of the summit cannot be ruled out, including with the leaders of Mozambique and Ethiopia.”

During his visit to South Africa the Russian president will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Minister of Economic Development Andrei Belousov, Minister of Natural Resources Sergei Donskoy, Energy Minister Alexander Novak, Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov. Meanwhile, the Russian delegation includes such Russian business captains as Viktor Vekselberg, Ruben Vardanyan, Oleg Deripaska, Vladimir Potanin, Sergei Chemezov, Vladimir Dmitriyev and Vladimir Yakunin.

The Russian presidential aide noted that the Kremlin finds the work with the BRICS partners important. “Russia considers the BRICS group as a foreign political priority,” Ushakov said, recalling that the BRICS countries produce over 27% of the world GDP volume (15.4 trillion dollars), 40% of the world population or about 2.9 billion people live in these countries.

The previous BRICS summits were held in the Russian city Yekaterinburg in 2009, the Brazilian capital Brasilia in 2010, the city Sanya on the Chinese island Hainan in 2011 and in the Indian capital New Delhi in 2012.

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