News24

Zuma meets US's Biden over Middle East

2014-08-05 19:47

Washington - President Jacob Zuma met United States Vice President Joe Biden in Washington on Tuesday, where the two discussed the situation in the Middle East.

"We have today (Tuesday) met the Vice President. We have again raised the issue. I think it was a very serious meeting and we were able to gain what is the thinking of the United States," Zuma said after the meeting.

"He was honest to say what it is they have done and what is it that they've not done."

The president said he was honest and frank with Biden about the US's response to the situation in Gaza.

"They appreciated the points we raised and helped them also to take another thinking in terms of the issues we were raising. I think they are keen to work with us."

Twice on Monday Zuma took the opportunity to tell the US what South Africa's position on Gaza was.

Firstly at a US Chamber of Commerce business forum, he said the country was outraged by the "continued violence that is claiming scores of lives of civilians in Palestine".

Zuma said there would never be a military solution to the problem and urged both sides to sit and talk so that they could arrive at an internationally agreed solution of two states.

At a National Press Club luncheon, he changed his words a bit, also criticising Hamas.

"We are outraged by the killing of civilians by Israel, some in United Nations shelters," he said at the time.

"We also condemn the killing of Israeli civilians by Hamas."

Zuma on Tuesday said he and Biden spoke about the importance of US support of the African agenda.

"What we expect of a country like the USA is to support that and I think when we met with the Vice President he accepted that they wouldn't want to come and tell people what to do.

"They were very keen to support and therefore they would be very keen to discuss the details about what is it they could do."

After his meeting with Biden, Zuma met senators at the Capitol.

The meeting between himself, and senators Ed Royce, Chris Coons and Robert Menendez was to discuss issues relating to the African Growth Opportunity Act.

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