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Iranian FM departs for South Africa with full revival of relations ‘on agenda’

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has hailed Iran’s deep-rooted relations with South Africa, saying the Islamic Republic aims to fully restore ties with the African country.

Amir-Abdollahian made the remark as he departed for the South African capital of Pretoria on Wednesday to attend a joint commission on cooperation between Iran and South Africa.

The foreign ministers of the two countries are in charge of the Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of South Africa, which will be held after a three-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Amir-Abdollahian said he would follow up on bilateral and some international issues during his meetings with the president and foreign minister of South Africa.

Pointing to Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi’s upcoming visit to South Africa, Amir-Abdollahian said a team consisting of 12 Iranian deputy ministers is present in South Africa, finalizing matters related to the cooperation between Tehran and Pretoria, and preparing documents for the trip.

Foreign minister: Developing relations with African countries on Iran's agenda

The top Iranian diplomat said South African President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa has officially invited Raeisi to attend the summit of the friends of BRICS, which is to be held at the level of the leaders of the bloc on August 24, adding that the Iranian president will also have a trip to South Africa in fall to discuss bilateral ties with the African country.

The friends of BRICS are a group of countries who have expressed an interest in joining BRICS, those chairing prominent institutions of the Global South and those invited as per the Chair’s prerogative.

“During this trip, arrangements for both presidential visits to South Africa (BRICS summit and bilateral meeting) are on our agenda,” Amir-Abdollahian told reporters before departure.

“South Africa is an important country in the African continent, with which we have had long-standing relations, and the complete revival of these relations is among the issues on the agenda of this trip,” he added.

Iran can be ‘reliable, influential’ partner of BRICS: Amir-Abdollahian

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the BRICS summit in Tehran on Tuesday, Amir-Abdollahian highlighted the significant role of BRICS in driving global economic growth and said the Islamic Republic can be a “reliable and influential” partner of the five-member bloc.

The top Iranian diplomat stressed that BRICS represents a powerful economic and political synergy with the potential to influence regional and global developments.

The BRICS group of fast-developing economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — is often seen as an alternative to Western economic and political hegemony.

It accounts for 42 percent of the global population and about 26 percent of the world’s economy, according to the South Africa-based Institute for Security Studies.

Iran is among dozens of countries that seek membership in the BRICS and has submitted a formal application to join the body.

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