RIA Novosti interview by Alexander Yakovenko, the official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, on the eve of a visit to Russia by South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on July 18th - 21st
Question: What are the objectives of the Russian visit by the South African Foreign Minister?
Answer: The South African Foreign Minister will pay an official visit to Russia in compliance with agreements achieved during the last December visit to the South African Republic by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. It should
signify Russia's determination to pay more attention to Africa when implementing the country's foreign policy and speed up our work targeted at securing Russia's long-term interests in this region.
The ministers will discuss the present status and ways to improve bilateral relations, including trade and economy; the agenda of the 2nd session of the Composite Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation, as well as
determine promising domains for practical cooperation between our countries in such areas as science, technology, culture and so on. The officials will also touch on drawing up a legal basis of Russo-South African relations.
The visit will enhance mutual understanding with South Africa, which has much authority both in Africa and in the Non-Alignment Movement, with regard to crucial problems in the international agenda. It will also contribute to the spirit of
partnership and cooperation on international political arena and to the development of bilateral relations.
Question: What issues will be on the agenda of negotiations between Igor Ivanov and Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma?
Answer: They will discuss the main trends of the world developments with much account to global challenges and threats. The officials are expected to focus on such burning issues as the struggle against terrorism, creation of a new
global security and co-operation system and the maintenance of global stability in the world.
Another emphasis will be laid on the settlement of regional conflicts, which also includes the expansion of anti-terrorist objectives. The diplomats will exchange opinions on the situation surrounding the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iraq, as
well as the Indo-Pakistani conflict.
The discussion of ways to coordinate efforts targeted at the settlement of regional conflicts, fighting terrorism and creating a relevant legal basis, will include such a topic as the enhancement of the role of international organisations,
primarily the UN.
Question: What is the place of the African issue on the agenda?
Answer: The meeting's agenda also includes such issues as ensuring steady development of African states, the struggle against poverty and consequently, the future development of the New Partnership for Africa's Development
/NEPAD/ programme. When discussing the results of the G-8 summit in Kananaskis, the Russian side is expected to confirm its support of the NEPAD and its adherence to speed up an energetic co-operation with the other G-8 member-states and
international organisations to develop a mechanism for its implementation.
The officials will pay particular attention to the issue of transforming the Organisation of African Unity into the African Union, whose primary objective will be further integration of African countries in order to ensure a steady
development of the continent.
The officials will also touch on a whole set of issues related to settling conflicts in Africa /Burundi, Congo, Angola, the Horn of Africa/, which is an important aspect of all plans for social and economic development of African
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