US government shutdown won’t prevent ambassador from meeting Zuma

2013-10-09 14:06

Newly designated US ambassador to South Africa, Patrick Gaspard, is still expected to present his credentials to President Jacob Zuma next week despite the US government shutdown.

But a planned function hosted by the US embassy in Pretoria next Wednesday to mark his formal accreditation as ambassador here had to be cancelled amid uncertainty over whether things would be back to normal by then.

Even though the embassy is still performing basic functions like issuing visas, it is understood that the embassy cannot embark on new programmes while the government is in shutdown.

Gaspard would also not be able to resume any public duties or speak out publicly while the US government is closed.

He is set to replace Donald Gips, whose term in South Africa ended 10 months ago.

US President Barack Obama yesterday told the Republicans to stop making threats and pass a budget so that the government shutdown could come to an end.

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