RIO DE JANEIRO – South Africa hopes to continue to increase its cooperation with Russia, the country’s foreign minister Naledi Pandor said.
“South Africa places a high value on strategic cooperation with the Russian Federation. The role we play in terms of bilateral but also global cooperation is extremely important. We are extremely pleased with our colleagues to have the opportunity to continue expanding our collaboration,” Pandor said during his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.
Lavrov and Pandor met before the BRICS ministerial meeting, scheduled for today, in Brazil.
Pandor, who previously served as Minister of Science and Technology and led the Ministries of Education and Home Affairs, emphasized that his country “benefited greatly” from Russia’s experience, particularly in science and technology.
Lavrov, for his part, praised the opportunity to discuss bilateral relations with Pandor.
“I am happy for the opportunity to discuss our bilateral relations after the presidents’ meeting in Osaka. And I hope all our ministries and agencies work in the same direction,” Lavrov noted.
The talks follow an informal meeting of the BRICS heads of state that took place during the G20 meeting in Japan in late June.
During the event, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. According to the Kremlin, during the meeting, the two presidents discussed bilateral relations and cooperation in the areas of mining, railway construction, peaceful nuclear energy, and also talked about the Russian navigation system GLONASS.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Marcello Crivella, proposed on Tuesday the creation of a permanent forum of the five main cities and metropolises of countries that belong to the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
Crivella hosted a reception for representatives of the group’s foreign ministries, who will attend a meeting next Friday in Rio de Janeiro.
The mayor of Rio de Janeiro suggested that the forum be called Brics 5 by 5.
“The Brics 5 by 5 forum would aim to promote cooperation between cities and metropolises in different sectors, encourage the exchange of best practice experience, foster joint projects to solve shared problems and attract investment flows, positive economic relations,” said Crivella.
The group of metropolitan representatives, according to Crivella, should meet in parallel with the sectoral meetings held annually. One of the topics to be addressed, he argued, is public safety.
“Like Rio, large cities face challenges related to public safety. We consider relevant to hold a meeting between the BRICS cities, aiming at the exchange of best practices on how to work the issue in the context of our grouping, where sharing experiences from Brazilian, Russian, Chinese, Indian and South African cities will be of great use to all,” said the mayor.
Crivella said that, for its beauty, Rio de Janeiro should be the representative city of Brazil.
“Here in Brazil, by the criterion of beauty, Rio will be the chosen cities,” he said.
Crivella also said that Rio de Janeiro has already offered a property to host the New Development Bank, which has the function of providing resources and technical knowledge for the continued deepening of the partnership between the BRICS countries.