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Russia hopes to expand cooperation with South Africa in 2023 — Foreign Ministry

Oleg Ozerov noted, despite Western anti-Russian sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic, trade between the countries is growing

MOSCOW, January 25. /TASS/. Russia hopes to expand cooperation with South Africa in various areas in 2023, Oleg Ozerov, Ambassador-at-large of the Russian Foreign Ministry and head of the Secretariat of the Russia-Africa partnership Forum, said on Wednesday. He was taking part at a discussion about relations between Russia and South Africa at the Valdai International Club.

The diplomat noted, despite Western anti-Russian sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic, trade between the countries is growing.

"By the end of 2021, the volume of mutual trade amounted to $1.140 billion. By the end of 10 months [2022] - $1.1 billion, and compared to the same period in 2021, trade increased by 20%," he said.

"Of course, we expect that in the year of the [Russia-Africa] summit we will maintain this momentum and, moreover, expand our cooperation in other areas. We have such cooperation [in various areas]. Trade is important, but it is important to develop relations in science, education, culture, sports. All these issues will be discussed at the summit," Ozerov added.

The Ambassador-at-Large of the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed the hope that South Africa would take part in the upcoming Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg in the summer.

"Naturally, we are practically sure that the republic of South Africa will take part in this summit for many reasons, including those friendly relations that exist between our states, peoples, and between the leadership of our countries. There is a lot of evidence for this," Ozerov summed up.