Clinton urges SA to take leading role

2012-08-07 14:17

Pretoria - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held talks with South Africa's top diplomat on Tuesday to map out strategy on global issues and press Africa's leading democracy to play a stronger regional role.

"We are looking for ways to enhance and deepen our partnership. South Africa has so much to offer to the rest of the world," Clinton said as she met with International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

While the two countries almost always have similar objectives on international situations, they often differ on the path to take to achieve desired results, she said.

"As crises and opportunities arise, there are tough issues we have to tackle together, from nuclear proliferation to climate change, security crises, the situation in DRC or Syria.

'Disagree as friends do'

"We do not always see eye to eye on these issues. I don't know if people always do and certainly not two nations. Sometimes we will disagree as friends do," she said.

A senior state department official said Clinton wants to "encourage South Africa to play a stronger and more influential role" in global affairs.

The two countries have appeared at odds on the approach to such conflicts as in Syria, Libya and sanctions on Iran.

South Africa, currently a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, last month abstained from a heated vote on sanctions against Syria backed by European nations and the United States.

South Africa said it wanted a more balanced approach and measures to prod the rebels to comply with the proposed peace plan.

But a senior US diplomat said while in agreement with South Africa's concerns, "we don't think it's a parallel situation. The [Syrian] government is using military planes... so there's a slight difference on that".

South Africa's preference for longer negotiations to approach conflicts can be attributed to its historical background, the diplomat said.

Regime change

And the country "gets very nervous when words like regime change get mentioned. We are not nervous about those words," said the diplomat.

Outside the differences in tactics, "fundamentally the US and South Africa share the same values," said the official.

"Strategic dialogue with the minister is the lynchpin" of the trip, a senior US diplomat said.

Nkoana-Mashabane said SA "regards USA as an important player in the context of north-south relations".

"I believe as partners on the continent we can do more about stability and the ways we are going to foster security, economic growth and development."

She thanked Clinton for her "personal commitment to elevate this relationship."

Clinton is later set to hold talks with the newly elected chairperson of the African Union Commission, South Africa's Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Dlamini-Zuma recently said she was opposed to the arrest of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on genocide charges, because his involvement in peace talks was needed.

  • gavin.lott.9 - 2012-08-07 14:32

    How can the ANC be in bed with the USA & China??...Good luck Hillary.

      vusi.hadebe.5 - 2012-08-07 15:14

      its called "political and economical promiscuity"

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-07 15:22

      Is China’s presence in Africa bane or boon to this continent? Of course it is beneficial. Just the competition is now working to keep a lot of folks honest and they have to stop ripping us off. THAT is the real reason why there is so much complaint from the Washington. We Africans on the other hand say, “The more the merrier!! Bring cash!!”

      gavin.lott.9 - 2012-08-07 16:00

      Fidel the problem is, I said the ANC not South Africa...we are two different things!

      Werewabbit - 2012-08-07 16:09

      USA sleeps with China too, why can't we?

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-07 16:20

      @Gavin I thought I was showing you why they can be in a relationship with both. Competition and a greater bargaining flexibility!

      gavin.lott.9 - 2012-08-07 16:42

      Warren we don't actually sleep with either of them, we are more like their bit*h!

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-07 14:36

    South Africa needs no urging. She has already assumed that role and the continent has entrusted her with this responsibility.

      abram.spamers - 2012-08-07 15:18

      Actually we are pretty much avoiding anything and everything that the rest of the world wants us to focus on in Africa. The UN always wants us to put pressure on who ever they have a problem with at the time (Libya, Congo, Zimbabwe... the list goes on) and we never move... I'm not saying we should "obey" them every time they tell us to jump... but it feels like we are always the fence sitters.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-07 15:42

      The UN, mostly western countries have been corrupted by the colonial mindset of dictating to other countries what they should and shouldn't do. The SA government, led mostly by Africans has no business telling other countries what they can or cannot do. It is this fundamental that most people fail to appreciate. Our government tries to facilitate what the custodians of those countries want, instead of shouting at them what they should be doing. This is borne out of our own history as Africans of having been at the receiving end of this dictatorship. The Chinese share a similar principle, which is why they refuse to use their power to intervene on the domestic issues of other countries. Colonisation has really corrupted western states and its thinking.

  • frans.vanderpoll - 2012-08-07 14:43

    Hillary, you're obviously not clued-up on SA politics. 'SA to take leading roll' hahaha! Not while the government can't sort out SA's own problems. Starting with corruption,education,housing and unemployment - to name a few! So Mrs. Clinton - dream on my dear!

  • keith.roberts.98434 - 2012-08-07 14:44

    I thought we were world leaders - in failing to deliver textbooks, in nepotism, in corruption, and soon.

  • arthurenlouise.tarr - 2012-08-07 14:53

    You Just waisted your time with her today TANNIE CLINTON. Not to worry,The South African Tax payers will pay the party BILL. Thanks for comming. Cheers!

  • BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-08-07 15:08

    Oh well that was a fat waste of time at our expense then. Mind you we're so used to that by now I guess there's no harm done.

  • tony.naidoo - 2012-08-07 15:10

    Is Clinton living in the dark ages or what? SA IS a world leader! We lead in looting, plundering, raping, murdering, hijacking, corruption and xenophobia!

  • wisani.mathonsi1 - 2012-08-07 15:11

    Thanx Mrs Clinton for the VOTE of confindence, but we can't take a lead while we are still led by zuma, this man is nothing but a liability, his indecisive to say the least. But Dont worry, very soon we are going to replace him with someone with good moral values. Say hi to Bill when you get back to the states

      tony.naidoo - 2012-08-07 15:21

      I am also hopeful my friend. Things WILL change!

      wisani.mathonsi1 - 2012-08-07 15:38

      @Tony.naidoo, we need someone we who can put trust on who can bring the confidence back.

  • chris.flack.750 - 2012-08-07 15:53

    If I was the President of South Africa, I would have made sure that I was in the country when a powerful diplomat comes a visiting. Not having a holiday in Jamaica.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-07 16:23

      Foreign ministers interact with their peers. Presidents interact with other presidents.

  • jan.vanschalkwyk.31 - 2012-08-07 16:14

    America is just expanding their empire and unlucky for us we are next. If our leaders wont be bought over to do America's bidding then there will soon be an invasion if all else fails just like so many other countries eg. Iraq, Afghanistan.

      jans.opresser - 2012-08-07 22:06

      jan,you are so CORRECT! zuma the moron that he is,is out of town on purpose. he blamed america after he learned that obama had lied to him on libya and now he wants nothing to do with america. hillary is here because of zuma's talk of "second transitional phase" or what ever that means. what we have to do is arm ourselves and prepare for them before they illegally invade us.we are a brics member,so hopefully the other members of brics will defend us as russia is defending syria right now. problem is,the other brics nations might not TRUST US to hold our end of the fight after voting with nato on libya! zuma has caused us more international problems than he could handle.too ill suited for the job of president he is. because of libya,we may be on our own if they do invade us.

  • john.masengo - 2012-08-07 16:21

    "I believe as partners on the continent we can do more about stability and the ways we are going to foster security, economic growth and development." Seriously? Our people live in shacks, we don't get a proper education, we are getting killed by our own people, our government steals from us and live like kings. What is right in this country? Our peoples situation is not getting better; but worse. We dont have a government. We hava bunch of thieves and nothing more.

  • justin.pretorius - 2012-08-07 16:27


  • zama.williams - 2012-08-07 16:51

    Kanti what is happening to our country? It seems we never stop fighting battles! From being oppressed under the apartheid regime to being oppressed by our own kind? What life are we setting for our kids?

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