SA and US now the best chinas

2010-04-17 11:43

Relations between South Africa and the US took a historic step forward on Wednesday when Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and US Secretary of State ­Hillary Clinton signed a formal agreement to establish strategic dialogue between the two countries.

This important new framework is only the second the Obama

administration has signed with an African country – Nigeria is the other.

It will deepen the strategic partnership between our two countries

and give us even greater room to expand the friendship and activities that make

us proactive partners


It was symbolic that this great moment happened immediately after

President Barack Obama’s nuclear security summit.


Presidents Jacob Zuma and Obama met again to lay out a plan to

eliminate nuclear weapons in the world and to ­secure all nuclear materials.


Now that I have returned to South Africa my team and I are starting

immediately to put concrete action into our strategic dialogue.

One key area we

will work on is the development of safe nuclear energy to enhance energy

security while addressing carbon emissions.


Last year we signed a bilateral agreement on cooperation in

research and development of nuclear energy, which is leading to a number of

fruitful ­collaborations.


In the lead-up to the World Cup the US and South Africa are working

in partnership with the International Atomic Energy Agency to enhance physical

protection of radiological sources, for example at nuclear storage sites,

similar to efforts undertaken prior to the 2008 Olympic Games.


We also launched a broader bilateral energy dialogue on April 12.


Energy Minister Dipuo ­Peters and US Deputy Secretary of Energy

Daniel Poneman committed to sharing best practices to advance renewable energy,

energy efficiency, and mitigating climate change.


Our two countries worked together closely to achieve consensus at

Copenhagen last year and we will consult closely in the lead-up to future

meetings in Mexico and South Africa.


Health is another area that will benefit from added attention under

the strategic ­dialogue.


In total the US has contributed more than R10?billion over the last

five years to groups trying to neutralise the effects of HIV-Aids, with an

additional funding of R900?million over the next two years for ARVs.


Education is another area where we are working together and we want

to do more.

We are supporting a three-year $6.74?million (about R49?million)

skills development programme at further education and training institutions to

strengthen South African ­career education and training programmes.

This

programme will increase the employability of young people at a crucial time in

their lives – something South Africa is eager to do as young people make up half

the population.


It is one of the great honours of my life to serve as US ambassador

to South Africa at this ­exciting, vibrant time in our relations.

As our

countries move forward on the ambitious goals laid out in the strategic

dialogue, I believe many other new initiatives will grow and our people will

benefit.


) Gips is the US­

­ambassador to South Africa

 

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