U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken and South African Minister Naledi Pandor Discuss Further Strengthening of Ties
Secretary of State of the United States, Antony J. Blinken, and South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, met at the State Department in Washington D.C. on Thursday, September 15th as a precursor to the meeting of their leaders, President Joe Biden and President Cyril Ramaphosa. The presidents of the respective countries met on Friday, September 16th.
The meeting between Blinken and Pandor was a statement of intent between the two countries to further strengthen their relationship before presidents Ramaphosa and Biden also met.
Blinken gave Pandor a warm welcome, highlighting the manner in which he was received when he himself traveled to South Africa as secretary of state earlier this year in August. Blinken went on to touch on the importance of the relationship between the US and South Africa as well as the challenges they face together.
“There are a number of challenging regional issues that we’ll have an opportunity to talk about. And we’ll both be heading to the United Nations for the General Assembly and High-Level Week, and I very much look forward to continuing the conversation we started about how we see the shared future for the UN, for multilateralism, something we both attach tremendous importance to,” Blinken said.
Pandor further emphasized the importance of strengthening the ties between the two nations, speaking of “bilateral discussions on issues of common interest” by the presidents. “I am sure that they’re going to spend time talking about the wonderful strategy that you unveiled in Pretoria concerning the plans and priorities with respect to Sub-Saharan Africa.
I really believe that our leaders will help us get some detail with respect to that strategy, and I’m looking forward to the outcome of their deliberations,” Pandor said as she also referred to the discussions they had when Blinken visited Pretoria.
Still on the News…
Pandor went on to explain that the Kingdom of Lesotho, which had been a concern in their previous meeting, had passed legislation that would hopefully foster a free and fair parliamentary election in October in the southern African country.
The South African tourism sector’s improvement is an area she also talked about. Pandor went on to express that while certain targets had not been met, the fact that they were a work in progress was a good sign in itself. Pandor highlighted that it was the first time she had visited the State Department and it was a thrilling experience.
South Africa is an important strategic partner of the United States of America. The two countries are collaborating partners in several fields such as health, climate change, trade, and investment. South Africa is home to approximately 600 US companies with offices within its borders.
According to reports, South Africa is the number one destination for direct US investment, reaching a figure of $21 billion in 2021. “South Africa and the United States enjoy historic and cordial relations.
The US is a major export market for South Africa, a significant source of foreign direct investment (FDI), technology transfer, development assistance, and tourism,” said Clayson Monyela, spokesperson of South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation.