Dlamini-Zuma to meet with UK Foreign Secretary

Thursday, March 5, 2009

London - Developments in Zimbabwe and Sudan are expected to be high on the agenda when Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma meets with the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Friday.

The two will meet at the Foreign Offices in London within the context of strengthening bilateral political, economic and trade relations.

Discussions are expected to focus on developments in Zimbabwe since the establishment of an inclusive government and the International Criminal Court's decision to issue a warrant of arrest against the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Wednesday.

South Africa and the UK have a strategic political and economic relationship advanced through the existing SA-UK Bilateral Forum held at Head of Government levels. The UK is also one of South Africa's largest trading partners in Europe.

Over 50 percent of total South African exports to the UK are either precious metals or "unclassified goods". It remains South Africa's most important export market not only for fruit, vegetables and other agricultural products but also for manufactured, value added exports such as clothing, automotive equipment, wine, furniture and a host of other products.

Other matters of interest includes the situation in Somalia, including acts of piracy in the waters off Somalia, the UK government's decision to impose a visa regime on South Africa and the forthcoming G20 Finance Ministers scheduled for London.

Ms Dlamini-Zuma and Mr Miliband will also exchange views to foster and strengthen co-operation with the UK in the multilateral arena on international issues of common concern, with special reference to the United Nations Security Council and the restructuring of International Institutions.

South Africa has had a High Commission in London since the establishment of the Union of South Africa in 1910. In 1961, when South Africa became a Republic this was changed to an Embassy.

In 1994 after South Africa re-entered the Commonwealth, the Embassy became a High Commission once again.