Zim, climate change to dominate SA-EU talks

2009-09-11 13:38

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma started a summit today with leaders of the European Union at Kleinmond, outside Cape Town, with Zimbabwe and climate change expected to dominate the discussions.

Before the start of the summit, Zuma said the EU continued to be “a very valuable partner in addressing peace and security issues in Africa”.

“We undertake these discussions here today full of confidence and optimism because of the strong relationship and lasting ties between South Africa and the European Union.”

Zuma did not mention Zimbabwe, but “lengthy” discussions were held with the EU on the issue at Tuynhuys, the Cape Town office of the presidency, yesterday.

He appealed to the EU to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe, saying it would speed up the country’s recovery.“The EU has a position that they are not lifting sanctions. As SADC (Southern African Development Community), we see things from a different point of view,” Zuma said.

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, who holds the rotating EU presidency, said the EU looked forward to understanding more about the situation in Zimbabwe.

After meeting Zuma yesterday, Reinfeldt said that the EU was not ready to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle.

“We see still the use of violence directed against the supporters of (Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan) Tsvangirai and also the abuses still of human rights.”

Reinfeldt said before the summit today that he had hoped to see an advancement of the climate issue.

“We think you (South Africa) could be a very important and strategic partner on the climate issue,” he said. “We need to attend to the means of taking down our emissions.”

Reinfeldt wanted to see developing nations such as South Africa reducing their emissions by 30%. The EU wants to reduce the world’s average temperature by two degrees celsius by 2020.

The two leaders are expected to hold a press briefing sometime today. – Sapa


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