South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma has expressed the hope that an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) would be concluded before the
end of this year between the European Union and the Southern African Development
He said negotiators from both sides had received instructions to intensify negot iations to conclude it by late December.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday at the end of the 3rd EU/South Africa summit, President Zuma, however, stressed the incompatibility between EPA and th e regional custom agreement which targets economic integration in East African co u ntries.
The South African Minister of Economy, Robert Davies, was,however, sceptical say ing â?by taking into consideration the advantages and costs of EPA, it will be v ery difficult to conclude EPA-SADC before late 2010â?.
President Zuma asked the European Union to lift all sanctions against Zimbabwe b ecause, he said, they sap the mediation efforts made by SADC members.
However, the chairman of the council of EU, Herman Van Rompuy, said the sanction s, particularly the freezing in Europe of the assets belonging to Zimbabwean lea d ers, and the ban on visas, would be maintained â?as long as the situation of the country’s political and democratic situation does not improveâ?.
During the summit, the issue of the new law on media being prepared in South Afr ica’s Parliament, was not tackled, Van Rompuy told the journalists, saying for E U , â?it is about an internal problem in South Africaâ?.
President Zuma has since left Brussels at the end of a two-day working visit.