We don’t depend on leaks, says minister

Government’s foreign policy does not depend on information leaks, International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has said.

This was the minister’s first reaction to revelations by whistleblower website WikiLeaks, which quote her and other senior South African politicians in private United States government cables to their principals in Washington, a report on the SABC website read.

Nkoana-Mashabane said her job was to build relations with other countries, an area that did not depend on leaks.

The cables included unflattering remarks about many world leaders and also embarrassing revelations of how South Africa and the US viewed Zimbabwe’s leaders.

Earlier this month, deputy international affairs minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said the “side comments” by Nkoane-Mashabane, about Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe being a “crazy old man”, should not be taken seriously.

Nkoana-Mashabane is meeting her US counterpart Hillary Clinton as part of a strategic dialogue between the two countries. She was expected to sign agreements on HIV/Aids funding.

Trade, transport and policing were also expected to feature prominently.

The minister indicated the US remained a critical trading partner.

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