/ 3 August 2005

Mbeki signs agreements in Gabon

South African President Thabo Mbeki arrived here on Tuesday for a state visit as part of a drive to strengthen relations across the African continent.

Mbeki met his Gabonese counterpart Omar Bongo Ondimba and signed agreements on protecting and promoting investments, maritime matters and cooperation in the arts, education and training.

Mbeki, accompanied by his wife Zanele, several ministers and about 30 South African businessmen, received a 21-gun salute and a military march-past after his arrival.

Officials said Mbeki also discussed preparations for presidential elections set for December in Gabon, United Nations reform and the outcome of the Group of Eight summit in Scotland that yielded an aid package for Africa.

After the two-day visit to Gabon, Mbeki will travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday.

The South African foreign ministry earlier said the state visits were part of ”South Africa’s commitment to strengthen bilateral political and economic relations with all countries on the continent”. – Sapa-AFP