By Thokozani Mtshali
American under-secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs Karen Hughes had praised South Africa on Monday for its efforts to bring peace and stability to African countries.
Hughes was speaking at a function organised by Idasa in Cape Town after she arrived from a visit to other African states.
She said the US recognised the tremendous leadership shown by South Africa.
The US had an extensive co-operation programme with a number of developing countries that focused mainly on education, health and promotion of democracy and social development.
Hughes said the US was pleased that more than two-thirds of countries in sub-Saharan Africa had held free and fair elections since 2000 as this was a key requirement for US aid.
"The US believes in education and so does South Africa and we have chosen education as one of the most important investments we can make," she said.
South Africa had demonstrated good governance and had a record of investing in its people.
Since 2001 the US government had contributed more than $4-billion to the fight against diseases such as HIV and Aids, tuberculosis and malaria, Hughes said.
The US was also helping to provide anti-retroviral treatment for people with HIV and Aids in many African countries. South Africa was one of the major sites in the project, she said.
"Generally, the US is positive about the political direction of South Africa and the success of all these programmes between the two countries depends on sustainable partnerships,"
Hughes, who served for six years as the director of communications while President George Bush was the governor of Texas, also referred to the threat of global terrorism.
She urged nations to isolate the extremists who were threatening the US and the entire civilised world.
Hughes was an adviser to George Bush senior while he was president.
Source: Cape Times April 11, 2006