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02.11.2004 South Africa

South Africa is destined to move Africa forward - JAK

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Accra, Nov.2, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Tuesday said the relationship between Ghana and South Africa was destined to help move the African Continent forward into the mainstream of world politics and development.

He said with South Africa destined to help the African Continent develop, the relationship between both countries had strengthened and deepened.

"The relationship between both countries has strengthened and deepened so much that we feel and see South Africa as spearheading the development of the African Continent", he said.

President Kufuor made the observation when the visiting South African Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma paid a courtesy call on him at the Castle, Osu.

Dr Zuma, who is leading a six-member delegation, arrived in Ghana on Monday for a four-day official visit as part of a five-nation West African tour.

President Kufuor commended the role played by the South African President Thabo Mbeki among his colleagues to shape the establishment of New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the many sacrifices made to help solve conflicts on the Continent.

"President Mbeki also played a leadership role in business promotion in South Africa."

On the elections, President Kufuor said it was very important and critical in Ghanaian politics because it would confirm the commitment of Ghanaians to deepen democracy in the country.

He said for the first time, in 2000, a ruling Government was changed through the ballot box; therefore, the Government was committed to ensuring peaceful, free and fair elections in 2004.

Dr Zuma said South Africa was playing the role expected by Africans in the social, economic and political development on the Continent. She said Ghana showed solidarity, unity and commitment during the struggle by South Africa for independence.

"We know what African Governments need and what we can do to assist. We will not abdicate our responsibilities for conflicts resolution and would support every strong effort", she said. Dr Zuma had already held discussions with her counterpart Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Foreign Minister on bilateral and multilateral issues.

These included Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d'Ivoire as well as events in Darfur and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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