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Putin reminds Ramaphosa of nuclear deal

Former President Jacob Zuma and Vladimir Putin enjoyed close relations and it was under his watch that South Africa entered into a nuclear deal with Russia.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for their first bilateral meeting since he took office on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit. Picture: Qaanitah Hunter/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Russian President Vladimir Putin has brought up the nuclear deal in his first meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa on the sidelines of the BRICS summit on Thursday afternoon.

Officials say he was "frank" in reminding South Africa that an intergovernmental agreement has been signed between the two countries on nuclear.

But Ramaphosa responded by saying South Africa is committed to an energy mix.

When asked whether the Nuclear deal was discussed during bilateral talks, Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko confirmed it was brought up in the meeting between Ramaphosa and Putin on the sidelines of the BRICS summit.

“There was a discussion around how Russia can assist South Africa in terms of its nuclear capacity.”

Diko says Ramaphosa noted that South Africa’s difficult economic situation means the nuclear deal can’t go forward.

“Our economy is very stagnant, it’s not growing at the rate that we want it to. So while we remain committed to an energy mix, which includes nuclear, South Africa is not yet at a point where it's able to sign on the dotted line.”

Former President Jacob Zuma and Putin enjoyed close relations and it was under his watch that South Africa entered into a nuclear deal with Russia.

Diko would not comment on the relations between Ramaphosa and the Russian president,only saying relations between the two countries are solid.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)