Defence minister meets with Russian minister

Cape Town – South African Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula met with the Russian Federation Minister Sergie Shoigu this week during the fifth Moscow Conference on International Security, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) said on Thursday.

The meeting Wednesday was held on the sidelines of the conference where Mapisa-Nqakula and Shoigu discussed defence relations between South Africa and Russia.

The SANDF said in a statement: “South Africa and the Russian Federation have forged strong military relations through a Defence Committee and a Defence Technical Committee, together with Military to Military Relations.”

During the meeting the two ministers recognised that “there were positive dynamics between the two countries’ defence forces which allowed them to implement the programmes which are encapsulated in the agreements”.

The SANDF added that there was a “growing intensity and opportunity to intensify military to military relations and the opportunity to work with the RSA Defence Industry in various fields”.

Shoigu said the Russian Federation was committed to all agreements and technical cooperation between the two countries, while Mapisa-Nqakula said that South Africa’s relations with Russia were strong, “not only on the diplomatic sphere, but also in the Defence and Security sector”.

Mapisa-Nqakula mentioned that a number of programmes were being implemented through the Defence Committee and students would benefit from the agreements through educational exchanges.

“Seventeen students are currently studying in different specialists fields, including air navigation, medicine, land navigation, as well as in various other fields. It is expected that there will be more young military students that will be sent to the Russian Federation for similar training,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.

Shoigu invited Mapisa-Nqakula to attend the Military Forum 2016 Seminar, which would be held in Moscow later this year, and for South Africa to explore joint naval exercises that would see both countries’ navies visiting each other and sharing naval experiences. South Africa would also be participating in the International Army Games later this year.

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