Obama visit to SA to go ahead

2013-06-27 17:12

US president Barack Obama’s visit to South Africa is going ahead as scheduled, South Africa’s presidency has confirmed.

In a statement this afternoon the Presidency said President Jacob Zuma will receive Obama “for crucial bilateral talks that will take forward relations between the two countries”.

Obama and his entourage are scheduled to land in South Africa tomorrow, following his visit to Senegal.

The statement comes as former president Nelson Mandela remains in a critical condition in hospital in Pretoria.

Up to now there had been doubts in US diplomatic circles over whether the visit should go ahead and what form it should take, although the official line had been that it would go ahead as planned.

It will be Obama’s second visit to South Africa, but his first as US head of state.

The Presidency said: “South Africa values its warm and mutually beneficial relationship with the United States immensely. This is a significant visit which will take political, economic and people-to-people relations between the two countries to a higher level, while also enhancing cooperation between US and the African continent at large.”

Zuma is expected to hold official talks with Obama on Saturday in Pretoria.

He is also expected to meet with African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma later in the day.

Obama’s visit will also include a trip to Cape Town, where he is set to give what has been billed as an important policy speech to an audience at the University of Cape Town.

The Presidency said Obama’s visit “also takes place just a few months before South Africa celebrates 20 years of freedom” and the country appreciated the solidarity provided by the US anti-apartheid movement during the struggle.

In his meeting with Obama, Zuma will be accompanied by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of State Security Siyabonga Cwele, Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi and Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel, the Presidency said.

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