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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release April 22, 1997


Vice President Gore and Deputy President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa met today in the White House. In addition to reaffirming the importance the United States attaches to nurturing an increasingly strong and mutually beneficial relationship with South Africa, the Vice President also reviewed the successes of the U.S. South-Africa Binational Commission which they co-chair. The Binational Commission seeks to build a broad, balanced partnership with South Africa across a number of areas, including sustainable development, trade and investment, health policy, energy, and science and technology.

The Vice President also reiterated the Administration's continued support for a negotiated settlement to halt the fighting and resolve the ongoing crisis in Zaire. The Administration remains concerned about the humanitarian consequences of continued conflict and the potential for exacerbating internal and regional tensions if a solution is not found soon.

The Vice President expressed appreciation for the active role being played by South Africa and UN Special Representative Sahnoun to facilitate face-to-face talks between Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko and Alliance leader Laurent Kabila. We understand both leaders have accepted in principle President Mandela's invitation to meet in South Africa.

The Vice President also outlined the Administration,s proposal for a "Partnership for Economic Growth and Opportunity in Africa." The Partnership is based on the core premise that American trade and investment can serve as a powerful stimulus to private sector growth, and the increased prosperity of Africa,s peoples.