Mbeki, Bush discuss Africa

2 June 2005

Conflict in Darfur, Sudan and the upcoming G8 summit were top of the agenda when President Thabo Mbeki met United States President George W Bush at the White House on Wednesday.

Mbeki was in Washington on a two-day state visit, accompanied by Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

The two heads of state met in the Oval Office for an hour-long private discussion before speaking to reporters from both countries.

According to Foreign Affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa, Mbeki has been consulting various leaders of the G8 with a view to ensuring practical outcomes for Africa during the G8 summit, which takes place in Gleneagles, Scotland from 6 to 8 July.

Britain, currently the chair of the G8, has put African development, including debt cancellation, high on the agenda for the July summit.

Mbeki is one of a number of African heads of state will will be attending the July conference, where Bush said he hoped to advance what he called his “compassion agenda”.

Bush said that the issue of aid to Africa was a “two-way street”, requiring recipient countries to eradicate corruption and to commit themselves to “democratic principles, such as rule of law and transparency and human rights and human decency.

“That’s where [Mbeki] has played such a vital role, because South Africa has been a stalwart when it comes to democratic institutions,” Bush said.

Discussing Darfur, Mbeki thanked Bush for the assistance that the US has provided in the region thus far, at the same time calling for more humanitarian aid for the region.

“What we’ve asked for is the necessary logistical and other support to be able to ensure that we discharge our responsibilities,” Mbeki said.

“We have not asked for anybody outside of the African continent to deploy troops in Darfur. It’s an African responsibility and we can do it.”

In May, Bush and former South African president Nelson Mandela discussed the battle against Aids in Africa and ways of reducing developing country debt during a meeting at the White House.

SouthAfrica.info reporter