Visit to South Africa 2013-03-26 21:00:00 Durban Vladimir Putin made a working visit to South Africa at the invitation of President Jacob Zuma. The two leaders had a meeting within the framework of Mr Putin’s visit. Later, the talks continued in expanded format with participation of the two nations’ delegations. Following the talks, Vladimir Putin and Jacob Zuma signed a Joint Declaration on full-fledged strategic partnership between Russia and South Africa. A package of bilateral documents on cooperation in various fields was signed in the presence of the two presidents. Intergovernmental agreements on cooperating in the energy sector, on flight safety, and mutual recognition of educational documents and academic degrees, as well as a Cooperation Programme between the governments of Russia and South Africa for joint cultural projects for 2013–2016, were signed. Also, the two parties signed documents on cooperation with respect to platinum group metals, astrophysics research, fishing, ferroalloy production and solar energy. Following the Russian-South African talks, Vladimir Putin and Jacob Zuma made a press statement. * * * Press statement following Russian-South African talks President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, First of all, I would like to express my satisfaction with the course and results of our talks. This was my second visit to the Republic of South Africa. Today, we had a detailed discussion of what has been done during the previous period and we have outlined objectives for the future. The Declaration on Strategic Partnership has just been signed. It sets forth long-term benchmarks for bilateral coordination in trade, investment, the humanitarian sector, and in the international arena. Our nations have a good foundation for increasing cooperation. In 2012, our turnover grew by a record 66.3 percent and reached nearly $1 billion (in 2011, it was almost two times less). In the medium-term, we are set to increase the volume of mutual trade multi-fold. Russian companies attracted over $1 billion for mutually beneficial projects in South Africa and invested these funds into South African economy. Cooperation in the mining sector is growing dynamically. In 2012, the Renova Group invested about $350 million into development of manganese mines and now works on a project for large-scale modernisation of a ferroalloy plant (with $250 million in investments). Another our company, Norilsk Nickel, invested some $100 million into the reconstruction of a copper-nickel plant, thus increasing its production capacity 2.5-fold. We have enormous potential for developing cooperation in the energy sector, first and foremost in nuclear energy. Russia is offering its help to South Africa not just in building individual units (even if they are built using cutting-edge technology), but in developing the country’s nuclear industry as a whole – from resource production and building a nuclear power plant and research reactors to designing and manufacturing its own nuclear power equipment. Naturally, all this involves credit assistance from the Russian side and training of specialists. Solar power plants will be built in South Africa using Russia’s cutting-edge technology; a corresponding agreement was signed just now. Today, a memorandum was signed on cooperation on this issue and other problems. We are broadening cooperation in innovation sectors, including aircraft engineering and biotechnology. We plan to launch joint production of Ansat-class light multi-mission helicopters. A regional Russian Mi-17 helicopter maintenance facility is now working in Johannesburg. Talks are underway on supplying MS-21 Russian passenger jets to South Africa. We agreed to deepen contacts in the science technology sector. The Russian Academy of Sciences and South African research centres intend to engage in very close cooperation. Our scientists and researchers are ready to take part in the creation of the most-up-to-date equipment in South Africa, including a magnetic-resonance accelerator for radiochemical studies, proton therapy, etc. The South African space centre will be used for receiving data from the Russian satellite under the RadioAstron project. South Africa will implement a quantum optical system to improve the GLONASS signal accuracy in the southern hemisphere. Humanitarian cooperation represents a clear priority for Russia and South Africa, including cultural and educational exchanges and skilled labour training. We are set to increase the quota for accepting South African youth to Russian colleges. During the talks, we touched on some international problems. Our nations share common approaches to resolving key global problems. And as Mr President just said, we have cooperated and intend to further cooperate in major international formats, of which the UN is certainly the most important, as well as within the framework of BRICS, an organisation that has brought us together today, and other venues. We agreed to coordinate actions, including in seeking a peaceful resolution to the Syrian crisis. I want to once again thank the President of South Africa and all our South African friends and partners for this warm welcome and the exceptional organisation of our joint work. As for athletic achievements, we will wait and wait – it will all depend on the level of skill and luck.