Putin's visit is good news for South Africa - statement by UDM President (9 September 2006)
We commend the pragmatic approach demonstrated by President Putin of Russia during his visit to South Africa.

I know from previous experience - having served in the Al Gore/Mbeki Commission and similar international forums when I served in the Mandela Cabinet - that these types of bilateral discussions can theorise endlessly without delivering immediate results. Therefore I am hopeful about President Putin's visit, which seems to be an entirely different affair. Already he has committed his government to specific actions, and agreements between the business delegations have also been reached. There are huge potential benefits that our two countries can assist each other in attaining in specialist areas such as the energy sector.

All of these commitments hold the promise of unlocking billions of Rands worth of trade between South Africa and Russia and in the process add further impetus to the economic growth and anti-poverty initiatives of both countries.

It is now up to the relevant South African government institutions and the business sector to ensure that the momentum generated during this visit is not lost.

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