Zuma and Putin discuss strengthening relations
Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma has met Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss ways in which their countries could strengthen relations, the presidency said on Thursday.
"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 presidency said in a statement.
"The two leaders also discussed ways to strengthen the existing bilateral agreements and mutual co-operation."
Putin is said to have welcomed Zuma's visit and 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 emphasised 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-SA business council, which saw a rise in trade between SA and Russia which grew by 13% in 2013, which represents a significant growth in trade between the two countries."
Putin briefed Zuma on the situation in the Ukraine and underlined his commitment to finding a peaceful solution to the crisis.
"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."
Zuma raised the matter of the repatriation of South African activists who were 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 SA about how the repatriation process should be handled", the presidency said.