Palestinian and South African flags flew side by side at the Union Buildings on Wednesday, as President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Pretoria. The Palestinian Authority (PA) leader was welcomed by President Jacob Zuma – his first visit to South Africa since Israel’s military onslaught on Gaza in July and August this year, which left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead.
“President Abbas will conduct bilateral discussions with President Zuma on… bilateral relations between South Africa and Palestine, the Middle East peace process, as well as other multilateral issues,” departmental spokesman Clayson Monyela said in a statement.
Three agreements are expected to be signed. These included the establishment of a commission to monitor and guide relations, a memorandum of understanding to allow bi-annual political meetings between South African and Palestinian officials, and an agreement to co-operate on matters relating to higher education and training.
“In addition, South Africa supports international efforts aimed at the establishment of a viable Palestinian State, existing side by side in peace with Israel within internationally recognised borders, based on those existing on 4 June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
President Zuma is to bestow the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo on President Abbas later on Wednesday. Meanwhile, President Zuma will be bestowed with Star of Palestine honour by the Palestinian president. VOC