Pretoria, 24 January 2023 (TDI): According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa received Sergey Lavrov, the Foreign Minister of Russia.

It is pertinent to note that the Russin Foreign Minister is on his first visit since the invasion of Ukraine.

Lavrov expressed his gratitude for South Africa’s continued neutrality since the war’s beginning a year ago. South African President has shown a desire to mediate on behalf of his government.

Naledi Pandor, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation for South Africa, conveyed Pretoria’s desire for a diplomatic resolution achieved through discussion.

She affirmed South Africa’s sincere hope that dialogue and negotiation would soon result in a peaceful solution to the turmoil in Ukraine.

The African country has defended its cordial ties with Russia and their joint military exercises despite declaring itself impartial in the crisis and refusing to vote on UN resolutions.

Naledi supported South Africa’s freedom to continue bilateral ties with whichever nations it chose without following Western directives. According to Pandor, All countries engage in military drills “with friends, worldwide.”

Furthermore, Pandor has chastised the West for ignoring other concerns, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while selectively criticizing Russia.

The US Treasury Secretary Visits

The US Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen visits South Africa on 24 January. She embarked on a 10-day tour to Africa to explore economic growth initiatives and reaffirm America’s commitment to improving ties with the continent on 19 January.

Pretoria has declined to join Washington in criticizing Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, despite pressure from the United States.

Also Read: Russia-Ukraine Crisis

Russia- South Africa Ties

Since the Soviet Union, there have been diplomatic ties between Russia and South Africa. The two nations have kept cordial relations.

Historically, Moscow had always supported the governing African National Congress when it was a liberation movement against white minority rule.

The two have a significant economic relationship concerning trade. One of South Africa’s leading commercial partners is Russia, with yearly bilateral commerce between the two countries exceeding $1 billion.

Countries have also linked many other agreements on investment promotion, protection, technology, and scientific cooperation to boost their economic cooperation.

Both countries have collaborated in the energy sector. Russia supplies oil and gas to South Africa. They have worked together on nuclear energy. Rosatom has supported the ambitious plan to construct new nuclear power facilities in the African country.

Nations have recently worked together on the subject of sanctions. Russia and South Africa called for easing Western sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2019.

In addition to these fields of collaboration, the cultural interchange between Russia and South Africa has a long history. There are several Russian cultural institutions in South Africa, including the Russian Cultural Centre in Pretoria.

South Africa and Russia have been solid allies politically as well. Both nations are part of the BRICS and the G20.

South Africa also invited Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, to the BRICS conference later this year. The two countries have also engaged together on climate change, security, and peace.

The South African military will organize a combined military exercise with Russia and China in February in Durban on its east coast. It’s projected that the three BRICS allies will work together more effectively.