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Vol 40 No 5

Published 5th May 1999

South Africa

Transatlantic tryst

Clinton's White House and Mandela's Tuynhuys have a special relationship

Washington now has closer relations with the African National Congress government than with any other in Africa, including the governments of Egypt and Morocco. The institutionalisation of the new Washington-Pretoria axis started three years ago, when President Bill Clinton and President Nelson Mandela launched the Bi-National Commission. Its meeting last month in Cape Town produced a bonding that some diplomats call a ‘special relationship’, symbolised by US participation in Blue Crane, the Southern African peace-keeping exercise due on 12 April. After last month’s commission meeting, Deputy President Thabo Mbeki said the discussions ‘showed the rapid growth in the detailed relationship between the two countries’.

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