Burundian people impress Zuma

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has commended the Burundian people for embracing peace and democratic rule.

Zuma, who has concluded a successful state visit to Burundi, said he was impressed with the social and economic developments in Burundi, which indicated that peace was taking root.

The visit was intended to deepen friendship as well as economic, political and social relations between the two countries.

The President facilitated the Burundi Peace Process when he was the Deputy President after taking over from former President Nelson Mandela.

"When in South Africa, I will give President Nelson Mandela a full briefing on the improvements I have seen in this beautiful country. I have witnessed peace and democracy. We are proud as Africans of the progress made here.

"Madiba will be very proud too as he worked with you in the pursuit of peace. He will be proud to hear that your focus is now on sustainable development and a better future for all the Burundians," Zuma said as he left Bujumbura.

South Africa is now focusing on post-conflict support and cooperation.

Agreements signed between the ministers of Burundi and South Africa during the visit included agreements on sports and recreation, agriculture, trade and industry, as well as defence and higher education.

A memorandum of understanding on economic cooperation was also signed to unlock the economic potential between the two countries.

The President was accompanied by Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Higher Education Blade Nzimande, Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu, and Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Thandi Tobias-Pokolo.

Zuma also extended an invitation to Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza to undertake a state visit to South Africa.

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