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Putin meets with South African president


GLENEAGLES (Scotland), July 7 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has met with his South African counterpart, Thabo Mbeki, at the G8 summit in Scotland on Thursday. "We have very good political relations, but I agree with you that we need to transform our political relations and use them as a basis for developing economic relations," Putin said.

The Russian president said the two countries had many possible areas for cooperation, including mutually advantageous ones.

 "We need to think about creating mechanisms for this cooperation," Putin said.

The South African president thanked Putin for his role in the development of bilateral economic cooperation. Thabo Mbeki said that he personally received all Russian delegations, all Russian businessmen. He added that when they visited his country, they spoke highly of their president and highlighted his interest in developing economic ties.

Mbeki said a delegation of South African businessmen would head for Moscow next week to finalize bilateral economic ties. He said South Africa was enthusiastic about cooperation with Russia.

The president continued that South Africa was waiting for Putin's visit, as it would be a very important event and a good sign of relations between Russia and Africa.

Putin thanked Mbeki for the invitation. "I accept your invitation. We will coordinate the dates of the visit through diplomatic channels," he said.

The Russian president said friendly ties had traditionally linked Africa and Russia, and the latter had supported African economies and independence for decades, and had also implemented major projects on the continent. "We have good contacts with many outstanding Africans," Putin said.

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