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Clinton South Africa Visit Seen Boosting Ties

Clinton looks toward South Africa's Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, during the US-South Africa Business Partnership Summit in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012.
A South Africa’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to the country will bolster the existing strong and strategic relations between Washington and Pretoria.

Clayson Monyela said South Africa will continue to collaborate and cooperate with the United States.

He said the visit will also enhance the established annual strategic dialogue between Washington and Pretoria.

“For us, the United States is a strategic partner. We collaborate and cooperate with the US on a number of levels, both bilaterally and [in] multilateral fora,” said Monyela.

Clinton’s visit will follow the recent election of South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the chairwoman of the African Union Commission.

“From a foreign policy point of view, South Africa is doing its best to position Africa to have a strong voice in global affairs,” said Monyela.

“Obviously, for us, [the] US remains a strategic partner that has to be spoken to and consulted [with] on a number of issues affecting the African continent… at the United Stations Security Council, and even there we continue to cooperate with the US on a number of issues.”

He said Pretoria wants to consolidate and expand trade with Washington.

South Africa’s Mail and Guardian online newspaper quotes U.S. ambassador to South Africa Donald Gips as saying Clinton’s visit is part of a strategic dialogue to discuss issues ranging from trade and investment to diplomatic relations in multilateral institutions such as the United Nations, G20 (world’s 20 largest economies) and COP17 (UN Climate Change Conference).

Monyela said South Africa will be pushing for an improvement in infrastructure projects across Africa after continental leaders selected President Jacob Zuma to lead the effort.

“For the South African government this year, in particular, we have decided to focus on infrastructural development both in the country and on the continent… to do three things; to facilitate intra-trade among African countries, to expand the levels of connectivity across the continent, which would make it easy for countries like the US to continue to continue to assist, and also to take advantage of this huge infrastructural development taking place across the continent to expand trade with individual countries,” said Monyela.

As part of her 11-day tour of Africa, Clinton is scheduled to visit South Africa following her trip to Malawi where she met that country’s first female President, Joyce Banda.

Clinton will end her African tour with a stop in Ghana to attend the funeral of the late President John Atta-Mills, who died unexpectedly July 24 at the age of 68.

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