US and SA top officials meet over energy, global issues

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his meeting with Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor in Pretoria last year. File Picture: AFP

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his meeting with Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor in Pretoria last year. File Picture: AFP

Published Aug 2, 2023


US acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has met with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s national security adviser Sydney Mufamadi and other officials in moves meant to mend relations between the two countries.

South Africa and the US have in recent weeks seen officials moving between the two capitals, Pretoria and Washington.

Nuland met with Mufamadi, members of the Presidential Climate Commission and Director-General in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Zane Dangor.

South Africa and the US have been trying to mend relations following the Russian ship saga. Defence Minister Thandi Modise has denied that South Africa had sold arms to Russia.

She said the Russian ship delivered equipment that South Africa ordered before Covid-19.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel and Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni were in the US a few weeks ago to try and get the deal done on extending the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

Nuland said she had fruitful discussions with Mufamadi.

“Thank you to South African national security adviser, Sydney Mufamadi, for our discussion today to carry forward our strong collaboration on bilateral and global priorities,” said Nuland.

She also met with the Presidential Climate Commission where they wanted “collaboration on financing and technical innovations to build a just energy transition.”

Nuland also visited the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Pretoria to look at projects on micro-grids and other off-grid technologies to strengthen energy security supply in the country.

She also said she had good discussions with Dangor on regional and global issues.

In a statement, Nuland’s office said she discussed a wide range of issues with Dangor, including the war in Ukraine and conflicts in Africa.

They called for a peaceful solution to raging conflicts on the continent and other parts of the world.

“The delegations discussed the ongoing war against Ukraine, and the need to engage pro-actively with Ukraine, Russia, and the international community to uphold principles of international law as enshrined in the UN Charter. The chairpersons shared a commitment to coordinate efforts to limit human suffering, enable grain exports, and facilitate the exchange of prisoners and captives, including children, in the zone of conflict.

“The delegations observed that the war and Russia’s decision to not renew the Black Sea Grain Initiative have affected food security throughout Africa and around the world. They recognised the need for all nations to support the safe export of Ukrainian grain from Ukrainian ports in order to promote food security throughout the Global South.

“The chairpersons applauded efforts by President Ramaphosa and the African Leaders Peace Initiative during their mission to Kyiv and St. Petersburg in June. The delegations pledged to support efforts to bring about a just and sustainable peaceful resolution to the war in the year ahead,” said Nuland’s office.

Ramaphosa was in St Petersburg a few days ago where he met with Putin and raised the issue of opening the Black Sea to allow for the export of grain.

Ramaphosa was with the presidents of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Macky Sall of Senegal, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Azali Assoumani of Comoros.

They were part of the leaders that formed the African leaders peace mission.

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