Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Thursay Hillary to meet with South Africa's Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

South Africa’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will hold her first official talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington on Thursday.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said on Tuesday that Dlamini-Zuma and her US counterpart would discuss developments in Africa and the US, as well as the global economic crisis.

"It is their first meeting so we did not want to narrow the agenda. It is about renewing ties of friendship and re-establishing strategic political and economic ties." The talks come within the context of consolidating existing strategic relations between South Africa and the United States.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the US has supported many of South Africa's domestic objectives such as fostering economic growth, overcoming poverty and social imbalances, increasing the skills base and promotion of trade.

Dlamini-Zuma would also represent South Africa in a debate at the UN Security Council on Wednesday on strengthening the African Union's ability to handle crises on the continent and create stability, Mamoepa said.

Just as an interesting sidenote, at one point Dlamini-Zuma was suggested as a possible ANC candidate for the Presidency in the 2009 election and for the leadership of the party. In reply to a question as to whether she would be available for the country's top post, Dlamini-Zuma said: "ANC cadres never refuse when they are deployed."

Dlamini-Zuma said she was confident that the ANC and the country was indeed ready for a woman president. However, she questioned what made men more qualified than women to lead and said the ANC should lead the way in ensuring that there was true equality.

She said if the ANC was leading a society in which men and women were equal, it was surely also up to the ANC to ensure that equality was "put it into practice". "The ANC cannot run away from that struggle, it cannot preach the struggle and then not practice what it preaches'," she said.

Elections will take place on April 22. The ANC presidential candidate is Jacob Zuma.

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