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South African President Zuma, US Secretary of State Clinton Meet in Durban

  • Delia Robertson

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the U.S. and South Africa plan to enhance their cooperation bi-laterally and beyond. Mrs. Clinton was speaking following a meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma.

Secretary Clinton, speaking following a brief meeting with President Zuma in Durban, said she and South Africa's international relations and cooperation minister have been instructed by the leaders of their two countries, to work at building stronger ties.

"We have been tasked by our respective presidents the foreign minister and I, to put meat on the bones, so to speak, to get to work to make sure that the expectations of both President Zuma and President Obama are met as we work more closely together on our bi-lateral relationship as well as on regional and global challenges. And that we need to be leading on not only for the betterment of our nations, but the world," she said.

Mr. Zuma said the two countries wished to take their relationship to a higher level.

The secretary said she and the South African president discussed a broad range of African issues from Somalia to Zimbabwe.

The United States wants South Africa to step up its leadership role in Africa, particularly in the area of trade. In an earlier address to business leaders in Pretoria, Mrs Clinton says that there is great untapped potential on the continent.

"We believe that South Africa has so much more economic potential and it cannot exist as an island of relative prosperity amid a sea of untapped opportunity elsewhere on the continent," said Mrs. Clinton.

But increasing trade with African countries may be more complex than it at first appears. South Africa is currently in a recession and must respond to major domestic issues such as the highest global incidence of HIV and AIDS; widespread poverty and an unemployment rate of just over 24 percent.

From South Africa the Secretary travels to Angola.