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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 10, 2005

Joint Statement by President George W. Bush and President Thabo Mbeki

Our two nations are committed to deepening the close bonds of cooperation and shared values of peace and prosperity that mark the U.S./South Africa bilateral relationship. In our meeting on June 1, we shared perspectives on vital bilateral and international issues, including: trade and economic development; eradication of poverty; the fight against HIV/AIDS; global cooperation against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; debt management in Africa; and the compelling need to help all people attain the blessings of freedom, democracy, and security.

Building Peace and Security

We discussed South Africa's experience as a beacon for reconciliation and as an important leader in resolving conflicts. We recognized the significant progress in resolving the devastating conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire, and Sudan. Looking to the future, we identified mutual support for United Nations and African Union initiatives as essential to building a durable peace in these countries.

Spreading Economic Growth and Well-Being

The productive meeting afforded us the opportunity to reaffirm our joint vision for African economic growth and development, a vision built around the principles of good governance and accountability established both in the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the 2002 Monterrey Consensus.

We noted with satisfaction the positive benefits for South Africa and the region of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). We agreed that our two countries share a strong interest in the successful completion of the Doha Development Agenda negotiations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and will work together in the WTO toward the elimination of agriculture-export subsidies, the reduction of trade-distorting domestic support, and substantial improvements in agricultural-market access. We agreed on the economic benefits of a U.S.-Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Free Trade Agreement and its potential to create economic growth and jobs, and we asked our negotiators to intensify efforts to conclude such an agreement.

We also look forward to a positive outcome of the upcoming G-8 Summit reaffirming the G-8's commitment to supporting Africa's efforts to address the challenges and realize the opportunities the continent faces. We agreed to strengthen our joint efforts to cooperate to combat the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and other infectious diseases.

Expanding Democracy and Freedom

We agreed that our two nations should identify ways to work together even more effectively in the international arena to promote these principles of democracy and human rights.

We stressed that a democratic, stable, and economically prosperous Zimbabwe is in the interests of the African continent and international community. We expressed our deep concern about the food crisis and the suffering of the people of the southern African region - Zimbabwe, in particular.

Next Steps

To fulfill our joint goals and interests, we agreed to take the following concrete steps over the next 12 months:

Our two governments will meet regularly to consult on bilateral, regional, and multilateral issues of shared importance. We asked the United States Secretary of State and the South African Minister of Foreign Affairs to oversee bilateral consultations on these initiatives and report to us in twelve months on concrete results.

We look forward to continuing our dialogue and to an even greater cooperation at all levels in our governments.

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