Mugabe’s visit to strengthen ties between the two countries, says Zuma

2015-04-09 00:00

PRETORIA — Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s state visit to South ­Africa would benefit both countries, President Jacob Zuma said after the signing of bilateral agreements between the two countries at the Union Buildings in Pretoria yesterday.

“This state visit will certainly advance relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe to a higher level of benefit to the people of both countries,” Zuma said, with Mugabe standing at his own dais next to him.

Government ministers from each country lined the media briefing room and included Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and his counterpart Joey Bimha, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, and Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and his Zimbabwean counterpart Patrick Chinamasa.

This led Mugabe to quip that they looked like Bafana Bafana. Zuma called Mugabe our “dear brother”’ and thanked him for his state visit.

“The historic fraternal relations between our two countries necessitate that we work closer together for the betterment of the lives of our two people,” said Zuma.

Among the subjects raised in their lengthy talks behind closed doors was the establishing of a one-stop border post between the two countries and strengthening economic ties.

Zimbabwe was one of South Africa’s three main trading partners and further opportunities existed in the fields of mining, transport, infrastructure and information communications and technology, according to Zuma.

He said he also discussed regional issues, peace and security with Mugabe, who is the chairperson of the African Union.

“We express our condemnation of the attacks in Kenya [where more than 148 students were killed].

“This joins Africa more than ever to protect citizens of our beloved continent of the evils of terrorism.”

They also discussed the UN Security Council.

Mugabe later in his speech criticised the council, saying that the five permanent members had too much power and it was becoming a “circus” trying to get anything approved.

“Can’t we band ourselves together and say, ‘This, or you don’t have us’. That’s where we are getting to.”

Mugabe laid into the U.S. for its involvement in Libya and Iraq, saying Libyan head of state Muammar Gaddafi and Iraqi head of state Saddam Hussein had died so that others could “suck oil”.

“It is the brutal approach of the West. They are the ones who say they gave Christianity to Africa but just look at the things they are doing.”

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