Zuma prepares to meet Obama
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Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma is preparing to receive US President Barack Obama on Saturday for talks aimed at boosting ties with South Africa, the presidency said on Thursday.
“This is a significant visit which will take political, economic, and people-to-people relations between the two countries to a higher level, while also enhancing co-operation between US and the African continent at large,” the presidency said in a statement.
According to the statement Obama's visit remains on track despite the critical health condition of former president Nelson Mandela.
It came some two hours after Zuma said Mandela's condition had improved since Wednesday evening, when the president cancelled a trip to Mozambique where he was meant to attend a Southern African Development Community summit.
Obama is scheduled to arrive in South Africa from Senegal on Friday, accompanied by his family and a business delegation.
He will meet Zuma and a Cabinet delegation, including the ministers of economic development, state security, and health, at the Union Buildings.
“South Africa values its warm and mutually beneficial relationship with the United States immensely,” the presidency said.
It added that Saturday's talks were expected to “cover strengthening the status of bilateral relations, trade and investments, education, health, development assistance, as well as security and development co-operation in Africa”.
Speaking in Senegal, Obama on Thursday hailed Mandela as a hero and said his legacy would endure.
He is on a three-nation visit to Africa and is meant to travel to Cape Town on Sunday before moving on to Tanzania. - Sapa