Remarks Following Meeting Between Secretary Clinton and President Zuma

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Durban, South Africa
August 8, 2009

QUESTION: Does this start a new relationship between the US and South Africa? Is this a new era?

PRESIDENT ZUMA: We’ve always had relations with the US. What you should say – in both countries, there are two new administrations which are taking that relationship a level higher. That is what we’re trying to do. I think that’s what the new Administration ought to do and therefore that shouldn’t surprise you. And that’s why you see the Secretary of State here in Durban. [inaudible] I’m sure they want you hear your voice.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, is that how you see it?

SECRETARY CLINTON: That is exactly how I see it. I so appreciate the time that the President has given us this morning amidst a very busy schedule to reaffirm the importance of the relationship between our two countries, which he and President Obama had a chance to speak about when they were both in Italy together for the G8. We have been tasked by our respective presidents - the Foreign Minister and I - to put meat on the bones so to speak. To get to work. To make sure that the expectations of both President Zuma and President Obama are met as we work more closely together on our bilateral relationship as well as on regional and global challenges that we need to be leading on - the betterment of not only both of our nations but the world.

PRESIDENT ZUMA: That answers all questions.

QUESTION: [Inaudible]

SECRETARY CLINTON: Let me just say that we discussed everything from the President’s views on regional issues from Zimbabwe to Somalia to Sudan to global issues like climate change. We had a broad-ranging, very substantive discussion and I greatly appreciated the President sharing with us his advice and suggestions about how we can make progress. We have the same goals for a peaceful, progressive, prosperous continent starting in southern Africa of course, but moving north, west and east and the President’s advice was extremely helpful to us.

QUESTION: Was there any discussion around the US having forward bases in South Africa?

SECRETARY CLINTON: There is no discussion of that. That has never been raised by any of us in any of our discussions. It’s not an issue.

PRESIDENT ZUMA: A final thing. We also discussed the necessity of the transformation of global institutions so that they reflect the global realities of the day. But that’s all. I think that’s fine. Thank you very much.

Secretary Clinton: Thank you.