I have been blogging for several months now about the growing anti-Western Alliance. Led by Russia and China, the alliance, or more appropriately “axis“, encompasses the openly communist world, much of the former communist bloc, several Islamist nations and movements, especially Iran and the neo socialist regimes of Latin America, especially Venezuela, Bolivia and Brazil.
South Africa, under its ANC/Communist Party government is very much part of the axis and in recent years has forged close ties with Russia, China, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil and Vietnam.
Several members of the axis have nuclear technology and there is a growing pattern of nuclear co-operation among them.
Below is an article from Al Jazeera, on Russian President Putin’s just completed visit to South Africa.
Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, on the first visit by a Russian leader since the fall of apartheid, said on Tuesday that the nuclear deal would last until 2010, but gave no further details.
“We propose the widening of this co-operation and making our co-operation in the sphere of developing atomic energy for peaceful aims long term and large scale,” he said.
Russia is reorganising its civilian nuclear sector as it seeks to widen sales of nuclear technology abroad, expanding into the energy-hungry markets of Asia and Africa.
South African officials have said that the Koeberg plant, which imports all its fuel, was considering processing its own uranium to boost power generation and envisages building up to six new nuclear reactors.
Putin went quickly into talks with his counterpart Thabo Mbeki after arriving in Cape Town from Greece for a two-day visit on Tuesday.
Mbeki said after the talks that Pretoria and Moscow wanted to build on strong political ties to deepen economic and trade relations and had signed several agreements.
Victor Vekselberg, one of 100 business leaders accompanying Putin, said his Renova investment firm would invest more than $1 billion in the building of a ferro-alloy plant in South Africa’s Eastern Cape region.
Putin is also set to oversee the signing of a memorandum of understanding between De Beers and Alrosa, the South African and Russian firms that account for around 75 per cent of the world’s diamond mining.
The two countries will also sign a deal on banking, the Kremlin said.
A few days ago, South Africa’s he Financial Mail 1.9.06 also commented on the impending visit.
The visit of Russian president Vladimir Putin to SA next week, the first by a Russian leader to this country, marks a consolidation of relations between the two governments.
Relations have become much warmer and more active in the past few years…. however, though former president Nelson Mandela visited Russia shortly before retiring from office and President Thabo Mbeki has been there on more than one occasion, no Russian president has yet arrived in SA, though such a visit has long been promised.
Putin is coming with a 350-strong delegation of officials and businessmen and women. Moscow sources say there is a lot of hype and excitement about the visit. As one diplomat put it, its timing is linked to Russia’s presidency of the Group of Eight industrialised nations and Russian companies interested in investing in Africa and elsewhere. Putin, who visited Nigeria earlier this year, will visit Angola before coming to SA. The Russians are particularly interested in investing in oil, diamonds, metals and minerals.
“This is part of an awakening of the Russian economy and its drive to be represented at the right level in business and politics in all continents. [The Russians] are going to SA to increase their influence,” said the diplomat.
Deputy foreign minister Aziz Pahad says: “We believe this visit comes at a very opportune time – the Russian president, in his state of the nation address in May 2006, indicated that Africa was one of Russia’s foreign policy priorities.”
Issues on the agenda of President Thabo Mbeki’s discussions with Putin in Cape Town next Wednesday include the status of bilateral relations and the promotion of economic relations through Itec, promotion of the African agenda, the peaceful use of nuclear energy in Iran, the Middle East and reform of the UN.
According to a Russian diplomat, SA and Russia have many things in common: both have gone through dramatic social transformation and have problems of sociopolitical and economic transition.
“There was a difficult period when Russia concentrated on internal crises,” says the diplomat. “But now the situation has changed and we are no longer the country we were in the 1990s. We now have clear priorities in international relations and to create a society based on equal access and development. ”
Before the ANC’s unbanning in 1990, there was a “deep and long-standing relationship between the Soviet Union and the ANC/SA Communist Party . . . The Soviet Union was the biggest and most powerful international supporter of the armed struggle against apartheid,” says presidency minister Essop Pahad. The ANC’s relationship with Moscow strengthened in the 1960s after it went into exile .
New Zeal The Financial Mail doesn’t quite understand the significance of this meeting between Putin, a former leader of the Soviet KGB and Mbeki, a “former” leader of the South African Communist Party. They finish the article with this sentence.
“In some senses the irony of the SA Russian relationship, once based on revolutionary proletarian solidarity, is that it now finds common cause in the pursuit of wealth and conspicuous consumption shared by its new elites.”
New Zeal Power was the name of the game then. Power is the name of the game now.