Zuma talks Zim with Brown

2010-03-04 08:25

President Jacob Zuma is expected to discuss the thorny issue of

Zimbabwe with Prime Minister Gordon Brown today, during a state visit to Britain

clouded by a polygamy row.

Zuma started his three-day trip yesterday with colour and pomp, and

was greeted by Queen Elizabeth II on London’s Horse Guards parade ground before

heading to Buckingham Palace in a horse-drawn carriage.

Brown skipped his weekly grilling in parliament to attend the

ceremony, before 67-year-old Zuma undertook a packed day of events including a

state banquet attended by the royals and leading politicians.

But controversy has overshadowed his trip after sections of the

British press criticised the president over his polygamy and a lovechild

scandal, and the president hit back accusing the papers of colonial


Today’s agenda focuses on matters of politics and cooperation

between Britain and South Africa, as Zuma and Brown hold discussions in Downing


The main focus of the talks is expected to be Zimbabwe and the way

ahead for the fragile unity government in Harare.

On the eve of his state visit Zuma repeated his call for

international sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle to be

lifted, saying they were not helping the beleaguered administration.

“If they could lift sanctions, that would give Zimbabwe an

opportunity to move forward,” the president said, quoted by the Daily


Other issues expected to form part of discussions are trade,

climate change and an upcoming global non-proliferation conference in the United


Sporting events will also be on the agenda, ahead of the football

World Cup in South Africa, which starts in June.

But attention has been distracted from the serious side of the

trip, with Zuma unable to leave behind the recent controversy over the child he

fathered out of wedlock with Sonono Khoza, the daughter of soccer boss Irvin


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