PRETORIA – President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is looking forward to strengthening relations between South Africa and other members of the BRICS countries.
The President emphasised the importance of South Africa’s relations with members of the BRICS countries during his engagements with the governments of the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation.
In his first engagement with the bloc’s members since his election, President Ramaphosa received a courtesy call from Yang Jiechi, Special Envoy of President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China and member of the State Council of China.
Yang conveyed to President Ramaphosa President Xi’s personal congratulations as well as the best wishes of the government and the people of China on President Ramaphosa’s election to the position of President.
President Ramaphosa, in turn, conveyed his congratulations and those of the people of South Africa on the recent re-election of President Xi as leader of the People’s Republic of China.
In turn, President Ramaphosa said the re-election of President Xi presented an opportunity for South Africa to deepen its strategic and historic political, economic, social and international cooperation with China at a personal, bilateral, regional and global level.
Both parties have agreed to State visits. President Ramaphosa said he is eagerly awaiting a visit by President Xi to South Africa in July ahead of South Africa’s hosting of the 10th BRICS Summit in which Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will participate.
President Ramaphosa will pay a state visit to China ahead of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit, which President Ramaphosa will co-chair with President Xi, to be held in Beijing in the latter part of this year, with the theme to strongly focus on a shared future based on a win-win relationship.
China has invited South Africa to participate in the first China Import Expo to be held in November 2018 as a guest country.
President Ramaphosa also invited China to support initiatives aimed at South Africa’s economic recovery, including amongst others, driving the need for greater imports from Africa to China and participation in the upcoming Jobs Summit and Investment Summit.
In his second engagement, President Ramaphosa, on a call with Moscow, congratulated President Vladimir Putin on his re-election by the people of the Russian Federation.
President Ramaphosa said Russia remained an important partner to South Africa and Africa at large, as evidenced by its support for countries of the South in multilateral fora and associations such as BRICS.
President Putin reciprocated by congratulating President Ramaphosa on his assumption of the Presidency and said the Russian Federation stood ready to deepen bilateral relations, notably in the economic terrain.
President Ramaphosa looks forward to hosting President Putin at the BRICS Summit in July, which will signify the beginning of the second decade of cooperation among this group of emerging markets which have a range of developmental advances and challenges in common.