South African President Jacob Zuma has had telephonic discussions with his Nigerian counterpart Goodluck Jonathan, and both reaffirmed the warm and cordial relations between the two countries, it was announced on Thursday.
Relations between South Africa and Nigeria have been strained after the latter recalled its diplomatic envoys last week in protest against the recent wave of xenophobic violence in parts of South Africa.
South Africa reacted strongly to the Nigerian move.
“If this action is based on the incidents of attacks on foreign nationals in some parts of our country, it would be curious for a sisterly country to want to exploit such a painful episode for whatever agenda,” said South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Clayson Monyela.
But officials of both governments later downplayed the rift between the two countries and pledged to promote bilateral ties.
The two leaders pledged that South Africa and Nigeria will continue to work together for the good of their peoples and the continent as a whole, the South African Presidency said in a statement.
Jonathan expressed his support for the efforts of South Africa to arrest the perpetrators of attacks on foreign nationals and to ensure the safety and security of all citizens, including foreign nationals and those from the African continent, in particular who borxe the brunt of the attacks earlier this month, presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said.
Zuma will attend the inauguration of Nigeria’s President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari next month, said Maharaj. Enditem