Zuma, Brown to discuss Zim, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pretoria - The Zimbabwean political stalemate is expected to top the agenda of President Jacob Zuma's meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street, London today.

Zuma is expected to present Brown with a new proposal aimed at breaking the impasse over the European Union's continued sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Brown, the EU and US President Barack Obama have in the past rejected calls by the African Union and SADC to withdraw sanctions targeted at Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe and his allies.

Other topics thought to be high on the agenda for the talks are climate change, the global economy, and the 2010 FIFA World Cup which is to be hosted by South Africa.

Zuma and Brown will then field questions from the media. Thereafter Zuma will address the British Parliament.

On Wednesday, Queen Elizabeth II rolled out the red carpet and offered Zuma and his wife Thobeka the most lavish reception Britain had to offer.

The Queen greeted Zuma on London's Horse Guards Parade before accompanying him in a black-and-gold horse-drawn carriage to Buckingham Palace, where he is staying for the duration of his visit.

The South African delegation was later treated to a state banquet at Buckingham Palace.

In his remarks during the banquet, Zuma said though South Africa was making progress to eradicate poverty and improve the quality of life of its people, much more still needed to be done.

"The creation of decent work for all our people is a central economic priority. We have a clear plan of how to achieve these goals and also want our efforts to yield results faster."

He also stressed co-operation between the two countries, saying Britain is a key development partner and a friend.

"We acknowledge the contribution of the government of the United Kingdom, non-governmental organisations and the business community for their commitment to the development and growth of the African continent."