News and Information

Pacts Cement Closer SA-UK Armed Forces Ties
August 3, 2004

Business Day (Johannesburg)

August 3, 2004
Posted to the web August 3, 2004

Jonathan Katzenellenbogen, International Affairs Editor

SA AND the UK have signed two defence agreements paving the way for greater military co-operation between the two countries.

Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota said at the signing ceremony yesterday that military cooperation between South African and UK armed forces had developed "to a level where it could be described as very close and progressively expanding".

The agreements could boost UK military advice to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and lead to more exercises by UK armed forces in SA.

One of the agreements formalises the position of a team of 10 British military advisers in SA.

The British Peace Support Team's mandate is to advise the SANDF on peacekeeping and help train South African peacekeepers who are to leave for duty in Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.

The team will soon assist the SANDF with computer simulation exercises to prepare officers for future missions. SA and the UK will share the R13m cost of the advisory team.

With plans for a five-brigade African Standby Force to deal with contingencies to be in existence by 2010, SA is expected to play an increasing role in African peace-keeping efforts.

The second agreement eases the way for British forces to conduct military exercises in SA. The agreement allows SA to facilitate entry and customs clearance of UK forces coming to SA.

Later this year, senior generals from SA and the UK are expected to discuss further plans for military co-operation.


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