Zuma to visit Russia, as relations warm

14th May 2013, Comments 0 comments

President Jacob Zuma will visit Russia later this week for talks with counterpart Vladimir Putin, South African officials said Tuesday, the latest sign of rapidly deepening ties between the two countries.

Zuma will visit Putin's favoured Black Sea resort town of Sochi from Thursday, the second meeting between the two leaders in less than three months.

Russia has not been a major economic player in Africa in recent years, but ties with South Africa -- the continent's leading economy -- have been warming.

Trade between the two countries increased more than 66 percent in 2012.

"Presidents Zuma and Putin will review bilateral relations and exchange views on critical regional and global issues," South African deputy foreign minister Ebrahim Ebrahim announcing the visit.

Putin travelled to South Africa for a state visit in March, a trip that coincided with a summit of BRICS leaders.

After a lengthy bilateral meeting, the pair signed eight agreements covering education, energy, defence, fisheries, mineral resources, transport and science and technology.

The pair also lauded a tie up between South Africa's state-backed weapons firm Denel and Russian Helicopters to provide the first servicing and repair facility for the Russian group in Africa.

The two countries have also mulled the creation of a platinum cartel that would mimic OPEC's role in controlling oil supply.

The South African and Russian leaders will see one another again at the G20 summit in Saint Petersburg in September, making an unprecedented three meetings in one year.

Zuma will be accompanied on his visit by ministers of international relations, defence, tourism, intelligence, police and energy.

© 2013 AFP

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