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South Africa

Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his visit to South Africa on 13 and 14 May. [113795]

[holding answer of 19 May 2003]: I visited South Africa on 13–14 May accompanied by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment and the Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education and Skills, my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, Southgate (Mr. Twigg). I had talks with President Mbeki and Foreign Minister Zuma, attended the memorial service for Walter Sisulu, and visited Soweto. My discussions with the South African Government covered NEPAD, the Middle East, and a range of key African issues, including Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo. My ministerial colleagues had parallel discussions with their South African counterparts on the environment and education.My visit was a positive demonstration of the excellent relationship between the UK and South Africa, which covers areas of priority for both governments, as shown in our Joint Communiqué. I have placed a copy of that Communiqué in the Library of the House. My visit also reminded me of the remarkable progress and reconciliation which South Africa has achieved in just a few years since the end of apartheid.