SA, UK in talks over visas

2013-09-10 23:30

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Cape Town - South Africa and Britain have held talks about British visa requirements, the country's foreign secretary William Hague said in Cape Town on Tuesday.

"Certainly, we recognise the progress made in enhancing border security processes and we look forward to deepening the co-operation in this area," he told reporters at the SA-UK bilateral forum.

"We've had discussions about that in the forum. I don't have a new announcement to make today, but progress is now being made... in this area."

British visa requirements were introduced in 2008 in the wake of terrorist activity to tighten border security.

International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said she had received good feedback from her migration officials.

"We encourage them to quicken their steps, because this is just one small hindrance which can be attended to and they committed that they are giving it attention."

On the issue of developmental aid, Hague said the UK's international development secretary Justine Greening met Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in Pretoria on Tuesday.

"[They met] to discuss how we can work together on development issues and they had a constructive meeting," he said.

"Of course, we want to move on to a different period and exciting period, I think, between Britain and South Africa."

Hague said he could not comment further because an announcement should be stem from Greening and Gordhan.

Aid to SA

The UK authorities announced in April that direct aid to South Africa would end by 2015.

International media reports indicated that London wanted a relationship with Pretoria based on trade, rather than aid.

The international relations department said at the time that cutting aid would have far-reaching implications on projects running in South Africa.

"This is tantamount to redefining our relationship. Ordinarily the UK government should have informed the South African government through official diplomatic channels of their intentions," spokesperson Clayson Monyela said at the time.

He said consultation on the modalities of the aid cut would have led to an agreement between the two countries.

Read more on:    william hague  |  maite nkoana-mashabane  |  pravin gordhan  |  cape town  |  travel

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