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DURBAN, March 26 (Itar-Tass) – South African Republic is hosting several major international functions at a time.
The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa will get together this country’s main seaport, Durban, for a summit conference of BRICS. It will begin at night and prior to it South African President Jacob Zuma will receive China’s new President Xi Jinping in the capital Pretoria.
From Pretoria, Zuma will have to make a rapid transit to Durban where he will have talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin who is making a working visit to this country.
Both sides make on secret of the main objective of their talks which is to give a powerful boost to bilateral trade. Its volume is still standing way below South Africa’s trade with other member-nations of the informal association.
Russian-South African trade stopped slightly short of $ 1 billion last year, while Pretoria’s trade with other countries runs into dozens of billions of U.S. dollars.
South African officials pin big hopes on a bilateral declaration on Russian-South African strategic partnership. They hope it will reaffirm the new quality of relations and map out the key guidelines of future joint work.
Putin and Zuma will sign a range of important intergovernmental and interdepartmental agreements concerning cooperation in the energy sector, agriculture, and some other spheres.
Putin said in an exclusive interview with Itar-Tass on the eve of the visit that the two countries can beef up the volumes of trade and mutual investing by a factor of several times and can launch a number of mutually beneficial projects in nuclear power engineering, space research, and defense-related technologies.
A host of large Russian companies including Renova, Norilsk Nickel, Yevraz Group, Basic Element, Severstal, Renaissance Capital, and Vnesheconombank are operating in the South African Republic.
The list of South African corporations working in Russia includes the SABMiller breweries, Anglo-America/Mondi Group /paper and packaging/, Naspers /international media resources/, Bateman Engineering NV, Shaft Sinkers /also an engineering company/, Anglo-American Platinum, and Standard Bank.
South African officials have noted with much satisfaction Putin’s statement on the importance of promulgating collaborative ties in education and culture through an expansion of direct communications between universities, broader teaching of the Russian language in the South African educational institutions, the organizations of movie festivals, exchange of museum exhibitions, and concert tours of leading performers.
As for the BRICS summit, Jacob Zuma has already pledged his support for a most intriguing initiative, which is to set up a BRICS own development bank.
He told reporters Monday the idea of the bank was raised in discussions some time ago and the finance ministers of the five countries received an instruction then to scrutinize the issue.
Now the member-nations of the association are prepared to launch the bank.
Zuma pointed out an important feature of BRICS, saying it is not a talk show in any way but rather a very serious group of countries, the leaders of which discuss important issues and take decisions.
He indicated that trade within the group and bilateral trade have grown impressively since the time when BRICS was founded.