SA joins Middle East conference

2016-05-25 22:59

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Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma and Palestinian leader President Mahmoud Abbas met in Cape Town on Thursday afternoon to talk about bilateral relations between their countries.

According to a statement issued by The Presidency, South Africa and Palestine enjoy cordial relations dating back to the anti-apartheid struggle. 

“South Africa recognised the State of Palestine in 1995 and was among the more than 200 states that voted for the hoisting of the Palestinian National flag at the UN Headquarters,” it read.

Abbas arrived at the Cape Town office of the Presidency, surrounded by security official and civil servants. He was greeted by a smiling Zuma and the two retreated into a private room for what Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, described as a tête–à–tête.

Following the meeting, Radebe said Zuma reaffirmed South Africa’s commitment to a two-state solution in the Middle East. Abbas wished South Africa well on Africa Day. He mentioned the statue of former president Nelson Mandela erected in Ramallah in April.

Radebe announced South Africa would be among more than 20 countries participating in a two-state solution conference in Paris next month.

That conference was initially scheduled for May 30, but French President Francois Hollande said it was postponed so United States Secretary of State John Kerry could attend.

The gathering is intended to seek a solution to conflict in the Middle East, but Israel’s Prime Minister has already expressed his doubts about its impartiality.

On May 17, Reuters reported Israel’s Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was opposed the initiative.

Uri Savir for Al Monitor, a Middle East publication, said the initiative is motivated “not by the chances of its success, but by the significant dangers of a policy vacuum”.

Read more on:    mahmoud abbas  |  jacob zuma  |  cape town  |  palestine

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