Russia honours SA’s BRICS Ambassador

Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin has signed an Executive Order on awarding the Order of Friendship to Professor Anil Sooklal, South Africa’s Ambassador at Large, BRICS and Asia.

Professor Anil Sooklal at a BRICS roundtable discussion in Durban recently.

Published Dec 27, 2023

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South Africa’s BRICS Ambassador has been added to the honours list of the Russian Federation and will receive the Order of Friendship from President Vladimir Putin when the honours are handed out next year.

South Africa’s chairmanship of BRICS ends on December 31 with the baton passing onto Russia who will host the bloc’s summit next year.

Russia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and BRICS Sherpa Sergey Ryabkov announced the honour in a letter by presidential decree to Sooklal on December 21.

“It is a great honour and joy for me to congratulate you on being awarded the Order of Friendship of the Russian Federation.

“This state decoration serves as an undeniable confirmation of the deep appreciation and gratitude of the Russian government, my minister, our BRICS team and myself for your dedication and outstanding contribution to the success of BRICS,” Ryabkov wrote.

He described it as “wonderful news” that comes just before the New Year, “which will open a new page in the history of BRICS”.

“Let me wish you many success in your future work and I look forward to seeing you in Moscow for the first Sherpas/Sous-Sherpas meeting.”

Sooklal said he and South Africa were being recognised for his close working relationship with the Russian Federation as the two countries have strengthened relationships at all levels, including multilateral and bilateral relations.

“Working together we had a positive impact in shaping the direction in which BRICS grows. There is mutual understanding and co-operation in furthering a common aim,” Sooklal said.

The Embassy of Russia in South Africa, on social media platform X, said Putin would award Sooklal for “his substantial contribution to strengthening the bilateral and multilateral co-operation with the Russian Federation, in particular BRICS”.

The Mercury