Speaking in an interview with South African news outlet “News 24″, Zuma said that “Morocco is an African nation and we need to have relations with them.”
During the talks in Abidjan on the sidelines of the EU-AU summit, the two leaders agreed to upgrade their bilateral relations to an ambassadorial level after giving each other a cold shoulder for years against the backdrop of Pretoria’s lining up with the separatist thesis on the Moroccan Sahara.
“We never had problems with them (Moroccans) anyway,” Zuma said, recalling the support of the Kingdom for the South African people in its fight against racial segregation.
“Morocco was one of the countries in which former President Nelson Mandela had acquired military experience in the early 1960s,” Zuma added, stressing that “they (Moroccans) helped us a great deal.”
“That is why, when Mandela was released from prison, he felt it was important for him to go to Morocco and say thank you to them”, Zuma said.