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KING, OBAMA IN WORKING LUNCH

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By Musa Ndlangamandla - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-25-Sep-2009

HIS Majesty King Mswati III and his counterparts in the Southern Africa region held two working lunch meetings with US President Barak Obama in New York

HIS Majesty King Mswati III and his counterparts in the Southern Africa region held two working lunch meetings with US President Barak Obama in New York for what the latter termed a dialogue on how the leaders could partner with the world power for Africa’s growth.

President Obama said he was encouraged by progress made by the region, and Africa in general in recent years to close the development gap and increase opportunity. “More work, however, remains to be done. This expanding partnership needs to work in both directions, and I am interested in hearing your ideas about how our mutual efforts can be more effective,” President Obama said. He added that he was keen to hear about the work of His Majesty and the regional leaders, to create the kind of long lasting development effects that they all desire.

The first meeting was held at the prestigious Waldorf Hotel in New York, whilst the other was held at the UN Headquarters and facilitated by the UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon. Swazi Observer gathered that the meetings focused on how the United States can strengthen partnership with African countries to improve economic and social conditions on the continent. Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Lutfo Dlamini confirmed that President Obama had quality time with the leaders as part of his wish to make the United States consult more on what should be done and how to bring the ties closer.

“He wants to move away from the speeches and theories. President Obama is interested in finding solutions to the issues of climate change and to involve the leaders in doing so. President Obama, like all key leaders believes that unless something major and decisive is done within eight years, there would be untold consequences for the world. The idea, therefore, is to persuade the developed world to assist the developing countries in their path to growth. However, he insists that the growth should be in conformity with the principles of protecting the environment and promoting the use of clean energy,” Dlamini said.

Other matters that were discussed in the meetings with the leaders of the sub-Saharan region included those of job creation, especially for young people and entrepreneurs, how to create a favourable climate for trade and investment and how to mobilise agricultural growth.

Meanwhile, in his first address to the UN General Assembly, President Obama assured world leaders that he believes in open diplomacy and negotiation on whatever issues, be they developmental, economic, social, political or other. He pledged USD 2 trillion to resuscitate the world economy, USD 80 billion towards clean energy and USD63 billion to fight disease.


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