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S. Africa to intensify cooperation with Russia


08:17, March 15, 2013

JOHANNESBURG, March 14 (Xinhua) -- With the 5th BRICS Summit drawing near, South Africa is expecting to intensify cooperation with another BRICS member Russia.

"The South African government is mulling to train the next generation of medics in Russia", the South Africa's main newspaper Business Day reported on Thursday.

The group of BRICS consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and its 5th summit will be held in the South African port city of Durban on March 26-27. South Africa and Russia are currently two important members in BRICS, and their leaders would meet during the upcoming summit in Durban.

The South African government has been in an effort to improve the national health care service capability in recent years. However, only 1200 doctors could graduate from the medical schools every year.

South Africa's Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi on Wednesday said that the country would have to send the medical students to any part of the world for receiving the training with the shortage of doctors.

The minister believed that it would be an advantage for Russia to provide training for South African medical students in English.

The ruling party the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa has strong historic ties with Russia, which could date back to the apartheid era before 1994 as the former Soviet Union provided the political support for the ANC in its national liberation movement against colonialism.

On Wednesday the same paper reported that South Africa would strengthen its defense ties with Russia during the 5th BRICS Summit, saying the South Africa's Department of Defense and Military Veterans would hold an exhibition and a conference on the sidelines of the 5th BRICS Summit, and "South Africa's defense equipment maker Denel will make a significant announcement during the summit, which is about a partnership it has forged with Russia for the maintenance and repair of helicopters."

Denel is the largest state-owned maker of the defense equipment in South Africa, ranging from the aerospace to the land and sea weapons. "The pending new deal with Russia will be one of several in the pipeline", Denel CEO Riaz Saloojee said.

Last year an agreement was signed between Denel and a Russian company, in which Denel was accredited as the only company for maintenance and repair of the Russia-made helicopters in Sub- Saharan Africa. In Africa there are about 280 Russia-made helicopters.

On Feb.3 South Africa's Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane met with visiting Russia's Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergey Donskoy to explore ways of enhancing cooperation in various fields.It was reported the agreements under consideration included agriculture, education, energy, minerals resources, science and technology and transport.

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