Clinton arrives in SA tonight

Thursday, August 6, 2009
By: 
Chris Bathembu

Pretoria - United States (US) Secretary of State Hillary Rodham-Clinton will arrive in South Africa this evening at the OR Tambo International Airport. 

Ms Rodham-Clinton is set to meet with International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane at the Presidential Guest House in Pretoria on Friday. 

She is expected to hold bilateral talks with Minister Nkoana-Mashabane and to meet with President Jacob Zuma.

Secretary Rodham-Clinton's visit is part of her seven-leg African tour after she made stops in Kenya and Somalia. 

Her visit to South Africa has been seen as a sign of warming relations between South Africa and the US.

After her trip to South Africa, Secretary Rodham-Clinton is expected to visit Angola, an emerging economic power on the continent and a major oil producer and exporter to the US.

Addressing a news conference in Nairobi today, Ms Rodham-Clinton said her country supports homegrown solutions for local problems and urged the east African nation to try perpetrators of post-election unrest locally. 

She said a local process was the best mechanism as an international process would take too long to conclude. 

"I understand how complicated this is, considering the possible recurrence of violence from supporters of the suspects. It does take a lot of political will and leadership for this," she told journalists in Nairobi. 

The US top diplomat who held a meeting with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka who briefed her on Kenya's progress on the reform agenda, said she understood the difficulties facing the Kenyan leadership but urged them to forge ahead. 

"As hard as it is to resolve this internally, I think it is better for Kenyans," Ms Rodham-Clinton said and challenged the legislators to exhibit leadership on the local court. 

She said the leaders explained to her the difficulty the government faces in pushing through the parliament a constitutional amendment to create the local tribunal. 

"The president, prime minister and vice president told us that they are committed to the reform agenda, they believe they are getting close to a constitutional draft that answer some of the difficult questions that Kenyans are looking for like land, police and judicial reforms," she told journalists

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