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Russia Plays Key Role in Africa’s Military & Economic Stability: South Africa's Defense Minister

© Sputnik / Press service of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation / Go to the mediabankThandi Modise
Thandi Modise - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.08.2022
The agenda of the 10th Moscow Conference on International Security, besides global security issues, is specifically focused on developments in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
South Africa regards Russia as potentially able to make a vast contribution to military and economic stability in the region, Thandi Modise, the country’s minister of defense, told Sputnik.
Speaking at the 10th Moscow Conference on International Security, the defense minister hailed South Africa’s traditionally strong ties with Russia.
“Russia… was never a colonizer of Africa. And that respect for us is good. We also respect Russia for the second reason, where it has contributed, where it has given loans, it has not enslaved Africans. So we think that in terms of development, Russia has the potential to invest, to become a partner, to grow the economies that will lead us to less poverty, less dependence,” the minister said.
Thandi Modise pointed out the crucial link between growing economic stability and enhanced democratization processes, saying that in this aspect, Russia’s contribution could be invaluable for her country.
South Africa is not only looking at economic issues when furthering its cooperation with Russia, the official pointed out. According to Modise, the two countries enjoy a cultural affinity, bringing ties between them even closer.
“So, we think that contribution, investment, real investment into the African economies will not only grow the Russian economy, but it will also help bring us up,” she said.

‘Growing Positive Relations’

Weighing in on cooperation within the format of BRICS - a bloc of powerful industrializing economies established in 2009 that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, Thandi Modise hailed the group as an arena for “growing positive relations throughout the world.”
On the potential expansion of BRICS, Modise recalled how through South Africa, the group was able to expand its reach to the rest of the African continent.
“You will also remember that every time BRICS is hosted in South Africa, the other states are invited to participate. And therefore, we are already enabling both China, Brazil, and India to get access to countries which you sometimes may not have been able to come into,” the minister stated.
Staff worker stands behinds national flags of Brazil, Russia, China, South Africa and India to tidy the flags ahead of a group photo during the BRICS Summit at the Xiamen International Conference and Exhibition Center in Xiamen, southeastern China's Fujian Province, Monday, Sept. 4, 2017. - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.07.2022
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BRICS International Forum President Purnima Anand stated earlier in the summer that Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia could "very soon" join the group, saying the issue had been discussed at the 14th BRICS Summit in June. That same month, the Islamic Republic of Iran applied to join the bloc, which accounts for 40 percent of the world's population and around 25 percent of the global GDP.

‘Boosting Multilateralism’

The 10th jubilee Moscow Conference on International Security convened at a time of heightened tensions that have placed particular emphasis on international security and stability issues.
In light of this, Thandi Modise accentuated the importance of the forum as part of a far-reaching attempt to strengthen multilateralism to ensure that every nation, every human being can be heard.
With the international situation particularly strained against the backdrop of the Ukraine crisis, prompting some Western countries to try to hamper Russia’s military-technical and economic cooperation with Africa, Thandi Modise said South Africa did not like being told whom it could and could not associate with.
“We have strong ties between our countries dating back to the time of the Soviet Union and, now, with Russia. We want to respect our partners. We have several agreements between our countries. We also have personal friendship between our peoples. We would hope that as much as South Africa fights to be recognized as a sovereign state, so Russia would be within its right to defend themselves,” the South African defense minister said.

‘Equal Partners’

Thandi Modise reiterated how important ties with Russia were for her country amid a scramble by some Western countries for access to South Africa’s mineral resources.
However, according to the minister, “Africa is beginning to wake up as a unitary force that must be respected.”
Acknowledging that South Africa was dealing with a plethora of issues and challenges, Thandi Modise suggested that her country was mature enough to see itself as an equal partner in its friendship with Russia.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at a BRICS group of country meeting in July 2018. File photo. - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.07.2022
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South Africa and Russia, Thandi Modise concluded, have a destiny to fulfil “to ensure that generations after us live in peace.”
Ties between Russia and African countries have been steadily growing since receiving a boost in the wake of the first Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum held under the motto “For Peace, Security and Development” in Sochi on October 23-24, 2019.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping pose for a photograph during their meeting in Beijing, on February 4, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.07.2022
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All 54 African states were officially represented at the events, with the plenary session, Russia and Africa: Uncovering the Potential for Cooperation, addressed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader stressed that the development of relations with African countries and regional organizations was among Russia’s foreign policy priorities.
“African states are confidently gaining political and economic weight, affirming themselves as one of the important pillars of the multipolar world order, and are taking an increasingly important part in working out international community’s decisions on key issues related to the regional and global agenda. Our positions are close or coincide on many of those matters, which creates favorable conditions for constructive interaction at the UN and other international platforms,” the Russian head of state said.
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