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Topnews, Politik, Bilaterale Beziehungen

09. März 2009

Germany Hails "Multifaceted Cooperation" with South Africa

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said late Monday that South Africa's important position in Africa, which goes far beyond mediating conflicts in Sudan and the Congo, "underlines the role that South Africa has found in recent years." During a meeting late Monday in Berlin with South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Steinmeier spoke of the "multifaceted cooperation" between Germany and South Africa.

South Africa, as the continent's only member in the Group of 20 (G20) leading economies, should be able to participate in the global effort to "draw lessons from the crisis in the international financial markets."

"We need South Africa for the architecture of a new international order," Steinmeier said.

The top diplomats discussed recent developments in Zimbabwe. Dlamini-Zuma said she did not think that Friday's traffic accident, in which Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's wife died, would negatively impact the fledgling coalition government in Harare.

"I think the Zimbabwean people and the political leaders understand that accidents do happen in any part of the world, and they happen in Zimbabwe as well," the South African foreign minister said.

In light of speculation that Tsvangirai's vehicle had been tampered with, Steinmeier spoke of his relief "that the accident was just an accident."

Recognizing that Tsvangirai's wife had "been a pillar of support" for the former opposition leader, Dlamini-Zuma said: "We just hope that he'll gain enough strength and energy to come back to work as a prime minister."

The foreign ministers spoke about the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, which led the government there to expel several international humanitarian agencies.

"We are relying on there being no overly hasty reactions out of anger, which could especially lead those regions of the country that are already suffering into further, deeper difficulties," Steinmeier said.

He and Dlamini-Zuma rounded off their talks with an update on preparations for the 2010 Football World Cup in South Africa. She said that South Africa was ready to host the event.

"The stadia will be ready, the roads will be ready, the transport will be ready, everything will be ready, and in fact the people will be ready to receive the thousands of fans and the teams," Dlamini- Zuma said.

Dlamini-Zuma thanked Germany for sharing its experience from hosting the World Cup in 2006.

Steinmeier, for his part, said he looked forward to be able to "hopefully, in the next year, come to your beautiful country."

"All we need to hope for now is that our two teams, yours and ours, start in good form," he said.

Source: Sapa-dpa

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