July 6, 2019

South Africa, Rwanda Top Diplomats Meet In Niger


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Dr Naledi Pandor (L) meets with Dr Richard Sezibera

Rwanda’s foreign affairs minister Dr Richard Sezibera has held talks with South Africa’s minister for international relations and cooperation Dr Naledi Pandor.

Rwanda and South African governments have a rather odd relationship. There is a visa ban on Rwandan citizens in place since 2014, which was SA reaction to deaths of a Rwandan dissident and attacks on others.

However, despite various meetings between Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and SA counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa, the visa issue remained.

Rwandan officials including President Kagame himself made comments that blamed the ‘no progress situation’ on former SA international relations minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

In late May, following elections in SA, Dr Pandor replaced Sisulu, the daughter of African National Congress (ANC) veteran the late Walter Sisulu.

Immediately Dr Pandor was named, her counterpart Dr Sezibera congratulated her via Twitter, to which she also responded, saying she was “looking forward” to meeting.

Today, the two met for the first time in Niger’s capital Niamey ahead of the African Union Leaders’ Summit due there.

In addition to the visa issue, the dissidents in SA are part of what has caused ongoing fight between Ugandan and Rwandan governments.

It could be possible that a meeting between Kagame and Ramaphosa will also take place in Niamey.

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