Views : SA and UK to remain closest allies

The United Kingdom and South Africa will remain closest allies despite the recent British press criticism on South Africa’s way of doing things. On Wednesday President Jacob Zuma expressed concerns about UK press's scathing criticism of his polygamous practices saying that the Britons have always believed that Africans were "barbaric" and "inferior".

However, on Wednesday evening Queen Elizabeth II declared that the United Kingdom will remain South Africa's closest ally. She said this as President Jacob Zuma told the South African State Banquet hosted by Her Majesty, of the problems to create an equal society with access to quality basic services. He said the creation of decent work for all remains a central economic priority for South Africa.


Zuma said last night that South Africa is happy to have Britain as a key development partner and a friend.

"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," Zuma said.

Upon proposing a toast to the people of South Africa, the Queen went on to describe South Africa-United Kingdom bilateral relations as ambitious.

"Even in unsettled economic times, London remains a global centre for trade, finance and international growth. Some 600 South African companies have invested here. In return, British investment has played a significant part in South Africa's rise as a major emerging economy," said the Queen.

Apart from trade ties and economic issues, climate change and Zimbabwe will also top the agenda of Zuma's meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London this morning. After the meeting, the two leaders will face the media to field questions before Zuma addresses the British Parliament.

Yesterday, Britain rolled out a red carpet for Zuma on the first leg of his three-day state visit at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth.

Her royal majesty only receives two heads of State every year. Zuma has been bestowed with this royal reception. He joins Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki in receiving the honour. Britain is South Africa's single biggest trading partner. Trade between the two countries stood at R75 billion in 2008. – sabcnews.com

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