South Africa 16.7.2018 06:35 am

Putin heading to SA for Brics summit

GIFT. Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, left, presents a
soccer jersey to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Picture: AFP

GIFT. Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, left, presents a soccer jersey to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Picture: AFP

Russia’s leader will add ‘razzmatazz’ to proceedings, but it’s unclear whether it will mean much and if anyone will ‘mention’ the aborted nuclear deal.

With eight days to go until the Brics summit, it was confirmed yesterday that Russian President Vladimir Putin will be attending.

It’s a visit that would add razzmatazz to the meeting between the Brics countries, which comprisse Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, said economist Mike Schussler.

“But not much else. An announcement or two but more pledges rather than actual implementation.”

He continued: “Brics is important for trade and investment, but other regions are also important, as Africa is a better export destination for our value-added goods and services.”

Russia’s press attaché to South Africa, Alexander Kulaev, said Putin was on a tight schedule during the visit, although he may visit the Cradle of Humankind.

“It’s still being determined what he will do. At the moment there are quite a few bilateral meetings on the sidelines, with the heads of state of the countries, Brics members and the countries participating in the outreach programme,” Kulaev said.

“As far as I know, a bilateral meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa is also being discussed.”

The diary, or agenda, would come from South Africa’s side, said Kulaev.

He could not confirm if South Africa’s nuclear build programme would be under discussion.

That has been an ongoing source of argument in South Africa since it was first discovered a deal might have been signed with Russia, allegedly amounting to a trillion rand.

“I don’t think we can afford the nuclear deal,” Schussler said. “One wonders what was signed. I doubt much was signed legally, but I don’t know if Putin will push it.”

Schussler called Brics a “club” and said: “In a way, especially with minerals, we compete with Russia on platinum, palladium, and coal.

“There are things we can buy from each other; it’s not really that much of a commercial relationship.”

 

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