Monday, 22 April 2013

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 Abuja on Monday in what many see as a crucial visit for both countries to restore their long-term relations.

The South 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 the meeting 

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 Abdelaziz Bouteflika. 

He has since returned to South Africa.

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