Zuma pleads for DRC peace during polling results

President Jacob Zuma has called on political leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to keep peace in their country, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Tuesday.

She was speaking in Maputo at the conclusion of talks between Zuma and his Mozambican counterpart President Armando Guebuza.

Mashabane said the two heads of state discussed the presidential and legislative elections in the DRC.

“The two presidents have congratulated the declared winner of the presidential election, President Joseph Kabila Kabanga. At the same time, the presidents have urged political leaders in that country to act responsibly and refrain from making statements that would lead to violence.”

Mashabane said an agreement confirming that a binational commission would be established was signed during the visit. Other agreements signed dealt with hosting regular diplomatic consultations, forestry-based industries, arts and culture cooperation and the coordination of frequency bands.

A memorandum of understanding on communications, as well as one — along with Tanzania — on maritime security cooperation, were also processed. She said the countries had now signed over 60 bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding.

Direct investment
“South Africa has emerged in recent years as the main trading partner for Mozambique and its main source of foreign direct investment.”

She said Mozambique was one of South Africa’s top five trading partners in Africa. About 80 business people travelled with Zuma to Mozambique this week. A business forum between the two countries would be held on Wednesday.

Both presidents vowed to increase efforts by their ministries to deal with cross-border crime, maritime piracy, poaching and human trafficking.

Earlier, Zuma paid tribute to the Acacia trees that line the streets of Mozambique’s capital when he accepted the Freedom of the City of Maputo.

“It is this tree of Maputo that provided shade and shelter to many liberation fighters who sought refuge from its bosoms,” he said, according to a statement issued by the presidency.

He was referring to when Mozambique hosted South African exiles, himself included, during the struggle against apartheid.

Bilateral agreements
“Its fruits and roots served as food for many hungry stomachs in quest for survival during the ‘hey days’ of apartheid.”

Maputo is known fondly to many as the “City of Acacias”.

On his visit to Mozambique, Zuma will discuss bilateral cooperation in areas including trade and investment, energy, mining, agriculture, communications, water, environmental affairs, arts and culture as well as science and technology.

“The two presidents will exchange views regarding mutual cooperation at regional level, especially within the Southern African Development Community, and discuss broad issues affecting the continent within the context of the African Union,” read the statement from the presidency.

He was scheduled to lay a wreath at the Heroes Acre, as well as at the Matola Raid Memorial and Interpretative Centre, after which he would address the joint sitting of the Parliament of Mozambique and the Mozambique-South Africa Business Forum.

“Several bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding will be signed during the visit.” — Sapa

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