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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was welcomed by his South African counterpart for talks in Pretoria on Monday.

“Last year in 2022 we commemorated 30 years of diplomatic relations between South Africa and the Russian Federation. The rich history of our relations of course date back to the period of the struggle against apartheid which the people of South Africa fought in their quest for political and economic freedom. ”

A continental powerhouse, South Africa has resisted western pressure to condemn Russia and defended its neutral stance on the conflict in Ukraine.

Pandor told a press briefing ahead of the meeting the talks would help “strengthen the already good relations” between the two countries.

Sitting alongside Lavrov she described Russia as a “valued partner”.

South Africa recently assumed the chairmanship of the BRICS, a grouping that also includes Brazil, Russia, India and China to challenge the dominant US- and European-led global governance structures.

Last week, it announced it will host 10-day joint maritime drills with Russia and China off the port city of Durban and Richards Bay in February.

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