Accessibility links

Breaking News

Royal Welcome for Zuma in Britain

South Africa President arrives in London on a three day State visit

South Africa President Jacob Zuma says international sanctions against Zimbabwe should be lifted. In recent weeks the European Union and the United States voted to extend sanctions against South Africa's neighbor.

But President Zuma says Zimbabwe's power-sharing government should be supported so the country can move forward.

Thomas Cargill from the Britain-based research group Chatham House says Zimbabwe will be one of the topics discussed during President Zuma's three-day visit to Britain. But he says Mr. Zuma is also here to raise the profile of the World Cup football (soccer) championship, which kicks off this June in South Africa.

"South Africa is very keen to drum up support and worldwide interest in the World Cup," Cargill said. It wants to allay fears and the U.K. as a major center for interest in football is a good place to do that."

He also says Mr. Zuma wants to attract financial investors to his country.

"After the financial crisis that South Africa is just beginning to emerge from, the big priority for President Zuma and for the South African government is investment and attracting investment into South Africa," Cargill adds. "And so this visit is really to try and get international and European and British interest in the opportunities in South Africa."

Mr. Zuma arrived in London with his third wife, Thobeka Madiba Zuma. Some British media agencies have been scathing in their coverage of Mr. Zuma's polygamy and the recent news of his 20th child, born out of wedlock.

Cargill says the British media has a tendency to focus on personal matters.

"The British press, I mean if there is anything to do with private lives and sexual issues in private lives then of course the British media are going to be very focused on that, because it is in their nature," Cargill said.

But as Mr. Zuma arrived in Britain, a South African newspaper published an interview in which he accused the British of thinking their own culture is superior to others. Mr. Zuma's party, the African National Congress, released a statement criticizing news reports by the British media, calling attacks against Mr. Zuma as "disrespectful."

Mr. Zuma is scheduled to meet Thursday with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.