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updated 6:39 AM UTC, Sep 22, 2017

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the opening of a photo exhibition dedicated to the 25th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Russia and South Africa, Moscow, March 7, 2017

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Madame Ambassador, friends,

The opening of the photo exhibitions dedicated to the 25th anniversary of establishing relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of South Africa is a landmark event. The first photo exhibition provides a fairly complete picture of this stage of our relations. I say "this stage," because, of course, our relations go much further back to the history of our country providing support to the struggle against apartheid and to the African National Congress. In the most recent historical period, relations have been based on the solid foundation laid during that historical process.

The documents presented here include the Joint Declaration of President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and President of South Africa Jacob Zuma, which enshrines the status of our relations as a strategic partnership. In this regard, I would like to note the role that the outstanding statesman and public figure of modern times Nelson Mandela played in promoting our relations. His contribution cannot be overestimated. We also note that presidents Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, along with their governments and ministers, have advanced our cooperation on the basis of the principles laid down by Mandela.

We have a fairly diversified cooperation mechanism, including the Mixed Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation, the Russia-South Africa Business Council, which includes businessmen of the two states, the Joint Intergovernmental Commission for Military-Technical Cooperation, and the Joint Commission on Scientific and Technical Cooperation.

The ties and contacts between our parliaments and regions of Russia and South Africa are strong and regular. I would like to specifically highlight our interaction in modern ground-breaking industries which underpin scientific and technological progress, primarily, in the nuclear power engineering. We have signed a corresponding intergovernmental agreement on strategic partnership and cooperation in the sphere of nuclear energy and industry. In addition, Roscosmos and the South African National Space Agency have established cooperation. They have already developed specific projects in South Africa, and materials related to these projects can be seen at the exhibition.

I want to draw special attention to the ties between the people of our countries, and cooperation in the humanitarian and cultural spheres. I could go on and on about it. Indeed, there is very close cooperation. I am convinced that it will be even closer and more regular after the Protocol between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of South Africa on mutual abolition of visa requirements for holders of foreign passports enters into force on March 30. This is a big event, which we will celebrate this month.

Also, please note that there is another exhibition of photographs by Russian Ambassador to South Africa Mikhail Petrakov. These photos complement the official exhibition and reveal the stunning nature of South Africa, which fascinates many. I can confirm this, as I have visited many of the places captured in these photographs.

Once again, I congratulate everyone on our shared holiday. I wish everyone all the best, and I hope Russian-South African relations will continue to progress for the benefit of our peoples.

***

We will now celebrate the occasion with champagne and a cultural programme. I would like to express my gratitude to our South African friends who organised for today's event a performance by a choir of South African students studying in Russia. Unfortunately, this time we can’t reciprocate with a choir of young diplomats to match your gesture, but we will do so when the next anniversary comes around.

In closing, I would like to congratulate all women on the occasion of International Women's Day which is marked tomorrow.

Officially unveiling the HartRAO-based cutting edge tech quantum-optical station of the GLONASS satellite navigation system

On 27 February 2017 Russian delegation from Roscosmos and SPC SPP, helmed by Deputy Director-General of Roscosmos Sergey Savelyev, visited the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) in Gauteng province, officially unveiling the HartRAO-based cutting edge tech quantum-optical station of the #GLONASS satellite navigation system. This station will help greatly increase the precision of #GLONASS navigation in the Southern hemisphere.

Deputy Director-General of Roscosmos Sergey Savelyev: "Launch of this high-tech space system, developed in Russia, and operating on South African soil not only reaffirms friendly Russia - South Africa relations between Russia and South Africa but also creates a foundation for further development of scientific cooperation between our countries".

HartRAO Director Ludwig Combrinck: "We as an institution are stregthening cooperation with our Russian counterparts. Our today's event is another step forward for the scientific communities and industries of both our countries".

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at talks with Chairperson of the South African Parliament’s National Council of Provinces Thandi Modise, Moscow, September 28, 2016

Madam Chairperson,

Friends,

We are glad to welcome you to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during your visit to Russia at the invitation of Valentina Matviyenko, Speaker of the Federation Council of the Russian Parliament.

In a few months, in early 2017, we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and South Africa, although friendly, close, fraternal relations between our nations have a longer history. We remember the heroic struggle of the South African people for independence. We not only expressed solidarity but also provided active support to your struggle.

After South Africa gained independence, our relations started growing, ultimately reaching a point in 2013 when President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of South Africa Jacob Zuma signed a joint declaration on the establishment of a comprehensive strategic partnership between Russia and South Africa. The scope of our strategic partnership has expanded since then, with deepening bilateral trade, economic, cultural and other types of cooperation and growing interaction on the international stage.

We are working together in the UN, BRICS and other international organisations to uphold our common views on international law, respect for the right of nations to self-determination and the further development of the UN and the strengthening of its central role in the peaceful settlement of conflicts. We highly value our cooperation on issues pertaining to the strengthening of Russia’s ties with Africa and South Africa’s role in facilitating the settlement of various conflicts in Africa.

Inter-parliamentary cooperation is an increasingly important element of our strategic partnership.

We appreciate this opportunity to exchange opinions on all these issues.

We are happy to see you. Once again, welcome to Moscow.

Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s meeting with Chairperson of the South African Parliament’s National Council of Provinces Thandi Modise

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On September 28, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with Thandi Modise, Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, the upper house of the Parliament of South Africa, who is in Russia on an official visit.

The officials had a committed discussion of current issues pertaining to the further strengthening of Russia-South Africa fruitful cooperation in the main areas of their strategic partnership. They reaffirmed the importance of carrying on active inter-parliamentary relations at the bilateral level and within international formats such as BRICS.

Mr Lavrov and Ms Modise also pointed to the similarity or closeness of Russian and South African views on global and regional issues, in particular the fight against international terrorism, the situation in Syria and the rest of the Middle East and the settlement of crises in Africa. In this connection, they expressed the mutual intention of Moscow and Pretoria to maintain an active and confidential political dialogue.

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