As President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to travel to the White House in Washington on Friday at the invitation of US President Joe Biden, an analyst said South Africa’s ties to Russia and China could be the real reason for the visit.

Ramaphosa accepted the invitation of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken during his recent visit to South Africa.

Department of International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor said Ramaphosa’s visit to the US provided the government with an opportunity to strengthen bilateral relations by engaging and deepening multilateral relations through the United Nations.

Pandor said the two leaders will discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest, including trade and investment, climate change, food security, energy, peace and security.

“President Ramaphosa will reaffirm the importance of the strategic and mutually beneficial relationship between South Africa and the United States,” she said.

“This includes the urgent need to stimulate economic recovery after the Covid pandemic.” Everisto Benyero, an associate professor of African politics at the University of South Africa’s political science department, said the most important thing at the meeting was not what was announced on the official agenda, but what would be discussed behind closed doors regarding the SA’s relationship with Russia and China. .

Beniero said the Russo-Ukraine war and the SA’s centrality as a member of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are also likely to be discussed.

The US is SA’s third largest trading partner after China and the European Union, with more than 600 US companies operating locally.

“Remember Blinken was here in the SA, and the US ambassador to the UN was also in Ghana, so the US is working hard to ensure the isolation of Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin,” he said.

“One way to do this is to force SA to be less effective in its BRICS membership in some of the benefits that are claimed as part of the official agenda.”

Political scientist Prof Siphomandla Zondi said SA considers the relationship with the United States to be one of its most important relationships. Zondi said it is a “huge” relationship and the US sees South Africa as its second largest trading partner in Africa.

READ ALSO: Pragmatism must guide US and SA affairs

Source by [author_name]