The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne and the President of South Africa Jacob Zuma have pledged to establish closer cooperation between the two nations, according to an Antigua and Barbuda Government statement issued in New York.
On the margins of a reception hosted by the South African leader, Browne and Zuma discussed the long history of cooperation between Antigua and Barbuda and South Africa dating back to the anti-apartheid era in South Africa, the statement said on Sunday.
Ambassador to the United Sates for Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Ronald Sanders, who was present during the discussions, presented Zuma with documents relating to passports that were issued to South Africans as Antigua and Barbuda partnered with the African National Congress (ANC) in the liberation struggle to end apartheid, the statement said.
“Zuma was visibly affected when he examined the documents, taking him back to his days as a young freedom fighter alongside former President Nelson Mandela,” the statement said.
It said the documents included photos, “which Zuma identified as being him and recalled the partnership between Antigua and Barbuda and the ANC when other countries had refused to grant them entry.”
Zuma told Browne that South Africa will remain a close friend of Antigua and Barbuda, adding that it is his government’s intention to forge stronger ties and advance various levels of cooperation, the statement said.
Browne responded that he intends to advance talks with South Africa in the areas of manufacturing and tourism, among other areas.
The Antiguan leader also used the opportunity to introduce Sir Ronald as the country’s nominee for the post of Secretary General of Commonwealth when heads of government meet in Malta in November this year, the statement said.
On Friday, Browne listened to an address to the United Nations by His Holiness Pope Francis and addressed the opening of the Post-2015 Summit.
On Saturday, he held a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, and attended the annual South-South Awards ceremony, the statement said.
It said that, on Sunday, Browne will attend the UN Gender Meeting and hold bilateral discussions with the Prime Ministers of Thailand, Mauritius and St. Vincent and the Grenadines; the President of Kenya; and the Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Li Yong.