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Statement on the Bilateral Meeting between President Zuma and President Putin, at the Novo-Ogarevo Presidential Residence, Moscow, Russia

The President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Mr Jacob Zuma met with his counterpart the President of the Russian Federation, His Excellency Mr Vladimir Putin, in a bilateral meeting at Novo-Ogarevo Presidential Residence just outside Moscow in Russia. 

The two presidents deliberated around a host of issues that affect the two countries, and discussed how they could further strengthen and consolidate the good bilateral relations that exist between the two countries. The two leaders also discussed ways to strengthen the existing bilateral agreements and mutual cooperation. 

President Putin welcomed the visit by President Zuma to Russia, and praised the good bilateral relations and cooperation that exist between South Africa and Russia. He further encouraged both countries to work together in implementing the decisions that were taken last year during the state visit of South Africa to Russia. He emphasized the need for Russian and South African Ministers to work together in taking forward the bilateral agreements.

President Putin further commended the work that has been done by the joint Russia-South Africa Business Council which saw a rise in trade between South Africa and Russia which grew by 13 percent in 2013 which represents a significant growth in trade between the two countries. He commended this growth saying that investment from Russia to South Africa now stands at over a billion US dollars a year. 

President Putin reaffirmed his commitment and that of his country to work together with South Africa on a number of issues that face the globe including participation in peace-making and peace-keeping efforts spearheaded by South Africa in the continent. He briefed President Zuma on the situation in the Ukraine and underlined his commitment to finding a peaceful solution to the crisis. 

The Russian President further sought the assistance and support of South Africa when Russia takes over the leadership of BRICS next year. He further appealed for the strengthening of tourism, cultural exchanges and people to people relationships between our two countries and committed his country to further working with South Africa on educational exchanges. 

The two Presidents also discussed issues around the developments in the Middle East, in particular around the resolution of the Israeli-Palestine conflict through peaceful means. Both countries committed themselves to finding a lasting peaceful solution. President Zuma, also apprised President Putin around the role of South Africa and its work around this matter through sending its two special envoys. The security situation of the African continent was also discussed and assistance sought on peaceful missions that South Africa is involved in, including request for support of the African Capacity to Respond to Immediate Crisis (ACIRIC) process. 

President Zuma, also apprised President Putin around the developments in South Africa which has recently came out of elections with a clear mandate from the population of implementing programmes of job creation, eradicating poverty, unemployment and inequality, he sought support from Russia on the implementation of the new government’s priorities around the delivery of basic services like water, sanitation, energy, education, agriculture and tourism. 

President Zuma also raised the matter of the repatriation of South African fallen heroes who are buried in Russia, including Ivor David Jones, J.B. Marks and Moses Kotane. He thanked the government of Russia for taking care of the heroes who are buried in Moscow and he indicated that there are discussions and arrangements that are ongoing between Russia and South Africa about how the repatriation process should be handled.  

Both Presidents committed themselves to working together and with each in strengthening bilateral relations of both countries and further cementing the existing warm relations between the two countries for the economic and social development of their peoples.

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Issued by: The Presidency