South African President Meets President Jonathan On One Day Working Visit To Nigeria; Bilateral Ties, Issues On The Continent Discussed During Closed Door Meeting
South African President Jacob Zuma met with
President Goodluck Jonathan in Abujaon Monday in what many see as a crucial visit
for both countries to restore their long-term relations.
TheSouth African President arrived State House Abuja at exactly
one pm and went straight into closed door meeting with his Nigerian counterpart
Emerging an hour later, President Zuma who briefed
newsmen said the meeting afforded both Presidents to consult on relations
between the two countries and on the continent as a whole
Prior to this meeting between the leaders of
Africa's two economic powerhouses, analysts had voiced high expectations for
Nigeria and South Africa have emerged as key
trading partners on the continent.
While Nigeria is among the largest oil producers
on the continent, South Africa's imports from Nigeria also include rubber,
cocoa butter, petroleum oils and wool.
Critics have claimed however, that while South
Africa and Nigeria may stand shoulder-to-shoulder on most issues, the
relationship between Pretoria and Abuja has not always been so cozy.
Last year, Zuma sent a letter of apology to the
Nigerian government after Nigerian citizens were deported from Johannesburg's
OR Tambo International Airport for allegedly being in possession of fraudulent
yellow fever vaccine certificates.
The two governments had agreed then that the
matter could have been handled better.
Observers had predicted that President Zuma would
seek at this meeting to erase the perception that Nigeria and South Africa did
not see eye to eye on many issues.
True to type, the South African President after
the meeting had confirmed that he had assured President Jonathan of South
Africa's commitment to closer ties with Nigeria.
Both leaders also spoke on security challenges in
some parts of the continent especially as the 5oth anniversary of the African
Union would be celebrated this year.
President Zuma's visit to Nigeria follows his
visit to Algeria on Monday, where he held talks with Algerian President