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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks Foreign Minister Nkosazana Zuma Following their Meeting
December 9, 2000, Pretoria, South Africa
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
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FOREIGN MINISTER ZUMA: Good morning. First of all I would just like to welcome Secretary Albright. I know it is her last day in South Africa and I have been out of the country, but nevertheless I would like to say she is very welcome. Not only as foreign minister, but as a women foreign minister, as a member of an exclusive club of women foreign ministers, I would like to welcome her to South Africa and to wish her a safe journey back, since she will also be leaving today. And to say that we really had a discussion, obviously this morning, ranging from a few issues of common concern, particularly issues around democracy which are issues that the Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright is very much into.

We talked about some of the regional issues, but more importantly, we also talked about our own experience as foreign ministers, that we will be very sorry to miss her as a woman foreign minister and hope that she will not abandon us. That she will keep in touch. We will keep in touch with her and we are happy that in her last few months she was able to touch on South Africa in her last visit. So we are very happy that she also had discussions, the major discussions, with the President. Unfortunately I was not there because I only arrived very late last night back into the country from Benin. But I would like to invite her to say something.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you and I would like to thank Foreign Minister Zuma for coming back to have this interesting discussion. I think she has stated very clearly what a good relationship we have had, and I was very pleased to hear that we would continue to have. It isn't just being Secretary of State, but being a concerned citizen of the world that allows us to continue to have discussions on issues of great interest.

I found very useful Foreign Minister Zuma's discussion of what she had talked about in Benin, where they had a discussion on democracy. We talked about, as we have a tendency to do, about some of the practical as well as theoretical aspects of democratic government in the beginning of the 21st century, the importance of civil society, non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations. I told her about the meeting that I had had in Cape Town with the women leaders, and we followed up on some of the discussions that I had with President Mbeki on regional issues and the importance of dealing with the HIV/AIDS pandemic. We talked about our cooperation at the United Nations, the necessity for the United States to deal with our problems of paying of our dues as well as the scale of assessment issue.

I am very grateful for the time that the Foreign Minister took, given the fact that she did just return and has another meeting instantly, and I thanked her for saying that I could be an alumna of the women foreign ministers, a group I hate to give up. So, thank you very much for your graciousness and for having this meeting.

FOREIGN MINISTER ZUMA: We just have to take a democratic decision with the others because otherwise I am quite sure they'll all be happy.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: And we will count and recount the votes.

FOREIGN MINISTER ZUMA: And we'll look at the dimples (laughter).

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Right. Thank you very much.

FOREIGN MINISTER ZUMA: Bon voyage.

QUESTION: Madame Minister, please can you tell us, do you have a message for the next U.S. Administration?

FOREIGN MINISTER ZUMA: Well, yes. If this is only question you are going to ask and you will allow me to go after. Well the message is clear, we are in the 21st century. There was a Millennium Summit which was very successful at the United Nations and the majority of the leaders of the world were there. There is a declaration there which is a very good one for creating a better world in the 21st century. And of course, the U.S. as one of the leading nations, if not the leading nation, one of the leading nations of the world has a responsibility and an obligation to participate fully in creating that better world. And that better world means making sure that the international collective peace and security as provided by the United Nations and specifically by the Security Council, making sure that democracy in the world takes root, and stability. But more importantly, that no child goes hungry and no mother has to bear the pain of having to lie to her child and say their rice is still cooking when there is no rice to cook. And has the responsibility to make sure that we all work together to eradicate the infectious diseases -- and there are lots of diseases in the world, particularly the AIDS pandemic. So, the U.S. Administration that is coming in has a big responsibility in its hands. For, in short, creating a better world. And if we don't make a better world, it would mean the U.S. is failing because it has a very big influence on all of us.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Let me just say, I would agree with that and then also add the following which is why I wanted to come to South Africa on what is, I don't know whether my final trip as Secretary, but clearly close. That South Africa is obviously the leading country in the continent and very important as a democracy, but also to make quite clear to whomever is the next American Administration, that Africa is not optional for the United States. That we have a responsibility and national interests here and we need to follow them through, and part of our responsibilities is very much what Foreign Minister Zuma said. I would agree with her. Thank you.

[End of Document]
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