Zim elections in SA-EU summit spotlight

2013-07-19 10:58
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Pretoria - Forthcoming elections in Zimbabwe should be peaceful and transparent, European Council president Herman van Rompuy said in Pretoria on Thursday.

He was addressing a joint media briefing with President Jacob Zuma and EU Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso at the Sefakgo Makgatho presidential guesthouse.

"The European Union and South Africa have similar views on a broad range of issues, this is true for instance [on] Zimbabwe," he said.

"The EU notes the efforts of the political parties in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the Southern African Development Community in ensuring the forthcoming elections are peaceful, transparent and credible. Our joint objective is contributing to a peaceful and stable Zimbabwe.”

He said the EU supported the mediatory efforts of Zuma to forge agreement between the squabbling political parties.

'Peaceful, transparent'

“The EU will respond to the outcome of the elections [set for July 31] on the basis of all the evidence of peaceful, transparent elections with results accepted by all.

“We look forward to a full normalisation of relations and a deepening of our partnership with Zimbabwe,” he said.

The summit also touched on troubled areas including Syria, Madagascar, Egypt and the Great Lakes region.

On trade, a joint communiqué released after the summit said the parties agreed that employment creation was the greatest problem facing all partners.

"We will continue high level discussions on addressing the shared challenges of youth unemployment, as well as the way in which skills training can contribute to South Africa’s infrastructure expansion.

"Under the EU-financed development programme, approximately R650 000 000 remains available to support job creation initiatives,” said the statement.

Mutually beneficial

Zuma said South Africa sought mutually beneficial trade relations in a bid to improve the lives of millions of South Africans struggling to make ends meet.

“South Africa is still faced with the inherited challenges of unequal work and resources distribution, inequality, unemployment and deeply entrenched poverty,” he said.

"We are of the firm view that given this reality, the EU should continue with its development programmes in South Africa, complementing the work of government.”

The next EU-SA summit will be held next year.

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