South Africa party officials in Russia for talks on new ‘global order’

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JOHANNESBURG South Africa’s governing ANC party said Saturday that it had sent senior officials to Russia to discuss “recalibration of the global order” with President Vladimir Putin’s party.

“The visit follows an invitation from United Russia Party, Russia’s largest political party and a longstanding ally and friend to the ANC,” the South African party said.

“The engagements… will include discussions on the recalibration of the global order to reverse the consequences of neo-colonialism and the previously prevailing unipolar world.”

Moscow has been looking for years to bolster its political and economic ties with countries across Africa, and on Friday, Putin signed off on a new foreign policy aimed at curtailing Western “dominance”.

South Africa, for its part, has refused to condemn the invasion of Ukraine that has largely isolated Moscow on the world stage, saying it wants to stay neutral and prefers dialogue to end the war.

The ANC delegation led by Obed Bapela, who heads the ANC’s international relations commission, arrived on Thursday and is expected to stay until Sunday.

South Africa is due in August to host a BRICS summit, the bloc grouping the emerging economic heavyweights Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

In February, South Africa hosted a controversial joint military exercise with Russia and China, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov paid an official visit to Pretoria in January.

South Africa’s ties with Russia date back decades, when the Kremlin backed the ANC in its fight against apartheid.