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EU Pledges $165 Million to South Africa Schools

The European Union has pledged some $165 million to improve primary education in South Africa in their largest-ever bilateral development program.

South African President Jacob Zuma Tuesday said he was pleased to see education, which he called South Africa's "apex priority," being given such attention.

Mr. Zuma is in Belgium for talks with the EU on cooperation in trade and development. In his prepared remarks, Mr. Zuma said they planned to conclude a wide-ranging economic partnership agreement between the southern African regional economic body and the EU.

But speaking to reporters after the meeting, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said discussions may continue beyond the end of 2010. Mr. Zuma conceded the point saying it would not be, in his words, "the end of the world."

The meetings are also expected to discuss climate change and joint cooperation on regional and international issues.

It is the third such summit between the leaders of the EU and South Africa.

The EU is South Africa's largest trading partner.