Readout of the President's Meeting with President Zuma of South Africa
Earlier today, President Obama welcomed President Jacob Zuma to Washington to discuss nuclear security, as well as other topics of mutual interest. The President acknowledged South Africa’s historical leadership in this arena, demonstrating its peaceful nuclear intentions by the dismantling of its nuclear weapons program. President Obama urged President Zuma to continue to use South Africa’s unique authority on this issue to advance nuclear security and nonproliferation. He also reiterated the U.S. position that while the U.S. supports Iran’s peaceful nuclear ambitions, Iran is refusing to uphold its international responsibilities and this requires a strong and unified international response. The Presidents agreed to remain in close contact on these critical issues.
President Obama lauded the commitment of President Zuma’s administration to aggressively address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa, particularly the goal of reducing infection rates and increasing access to treatment significantly by 2012 - 2013. President Zuma thanked the United States for the significant role PEPFAR assistance plays in combating the disease.
During discussions on multilateral issues, the leaders acknowledged the critical role that climate change and clean energy will play in securing a safe and prosperous global future. Both Presidents agreed to work closely to build on the partnership forged at Copenhagen, the G20, the annual climate summit in Mexico, and beyond.
President Obama and President Zuma discussed the situation in Zimbabwe, and agreed on the importance of continued international engagement to forge a path to elections in which the civil and political rights of the Zimbabwean people will be respected. The leaders also took the opportunity to talk about important security issues, including efforts to combat terrorism.
President Obama also noted that the whole world shares in South Africa’s excitement at the 2010 World Cup being held for the first time in Africa and wished President Zuma a very successful games -- even if they will be rooting for different teams.