Dmitry Medvedev and Jacob Zuma discussed current bilateral relations, in particular steps to develop economic cooperation, bolster the legal foundations of the two countries’ ties, and the joint efforts to implement the agreements reached during Mr Zuma’s official visit to Moscow.
The two presidents also examined possibilities for expanding cooperation on the international stage through the new five-party format the BRICS group offers, and in general, building on the close contacts the countries have on the sidelines of various international forums.
Mr Medvedev and Mr Zuma also exchanged views on the prospects for settling the conflict in North Africa.
The meeting took place on the BRICS summit’s sidelines.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President, I am very pleased to see you again.
I am glad to welcome you and want to say two things: first, I want to wish you a happy birthday, as I know it was your birthday yesterday, and it is good that you can continue to celebrate it together with us today.
South Africa’s presence as a member of the now enlarged BRICS group is very significant for our forum and for your country. I wish you utmost success in this respect.
I want to discuss with you today the current state of bilateral relations between Russia and South Africa. You visited Russia not so long ago and we outlined on that occasion the blueprint for developing our economic cooperation and international coordination. Of course with the current upheavals taking place on the African continent, we are all watching developments in the north of Africa very closely.
You just recently led a mediation mission to try to find a solution to the situation in Libya. I certainly very much want to exchange views with you on the events there, and the possible solutions you see to this complicated conflict. I think that settling this conflict and many others too, will depend on how well we coordinate our actions. Therefore, if you have no objection, these are the issues I would like to discuss with you today.
Once more, I greet you most warmly.
President of South Africa Jacob Zuma: Thank you very much, your Excellency, thank you very much, Mr President, for your warm welcome.
Firstly, we meet again. We met last year in Russia when I paid a state visit, which was very successful, so thank you very much for meeting me again and thank you very much for saying something about my birthday. I realise I’m between a young man and an old man, my age puts me there, so I’m very balanced at the moment age-wise. But thank you very much.
I also agree on the issues you have raised to me to talk about; I am very happy to talk about those issues. I might add one or two small ones that I believe would be important to talk about. One of them being the scientific development. Our country is bidding for this Square Kilometre Array which we are coordinating with other countries in the continent, [it is] very important. I would like to add that one on the agenda. And I’m sure we could look at other issues, but otherwise the agenda is agreed. Thank you very much.