Abdullah And Mbeki Discuss Host Of Issues

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah held wide-ranging talks with South African President Thabo Mbeki, who arrived here yesterday on a two-day official visit. The talks focused on bilateral, regional and international issues.

A high-level political and business delegation is accompanying the South African leader.

The visit is also aimed at increasing trade and boost investment relations between the two countries, South African diplomats said following the talks. They said that some South African companies are likely to sign business agreements today following a bilateral meeting at the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and industry. The meeting, to be attended by a large number of Saudi businessmen, will be addressed by President Mbeki.

The South African leader’s visit is significant keeping in view Pretoria’s growing relations with the Kingdom. On the political front, the two countries have forged closer ties and share common views on various regional and global issues. Mbeki has, time and again, called for an end to all policies aimed at isolating the Palestinian Authority.

In an arrival statement yesterday, Mbeki congratulated King Abdullah and the Palestinian leadership for concluding the historic agreement for Palestinian unity in Makkah last month. “The Makkah accord had opened the way to end the fratricidal strife and allow the Palestinian Authority to focus on the pressing needs of the people in the occupied Palestinian territories,” said the South African president.

Diplomats said that Mbeki is visiting the Kingdom within the context of South Africa’s commitment to strengthening relations with countries of the Gulf region with a view to increasing the flow of investment and boost economic interaction.

The delegation includes Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Defense Minister Mosiuoa Lekota, Trade Minister Mandisi Mphahlwa and other senior government officials.

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