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20 Aug 2009 15:22
South African President Jacob Zuma on Thursday called for strengthening economic ties with Angola, as he led a major business delegation to Luanda on his first state visit since taking office.
“We believe that we have not yet tapped into the real potential of bilateral relations between the two countries in all spheres, economic, social and political,” Zuma said ahead of his talks with President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.
Zuma was accorded a full state welcome at the presidential palace, where Dos Santos took the rare step of making public remarks emphasising the importance of the visit.
“Your presence offers us an ideal occasion to explore more creatively all the possibilities to increase the cooperation between the two countries in all areas,” said Dos Santos.
Zuma is accompanied by 11 ministers and more than 100 business leaders, in the largest business delegation to accompany a state visit since the end of the apartheid 15 years ago.
Both leaders highlighted the importance of strengthening business relations between oil-rich Angola and South Africa, the continent’s largest economy.
“There is political will, potential and opportunities, and now it all depends on the capacity of the businesses,” Dos Santos said.
Zuma is later due to address Angola’s Parliament, and the two leaders are also set to jointly address more than 150 South African and Angolan business leaders who began their own talks on trade and investment on Wednesday in Luanda.—Sapa-AFP
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