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World Politics

William Hague acts to tackle confusion over decision to end support to South Africa


Britain will clear up any confusion within the South African government about the decision to end aid to the country, Foreign Secretary William Hague said today.

The South African Department of International Relations and Co-operation reacted angrily to the UK's decision to end the £19 million-a-year package, claiming it was "tantamount to redefining our relationship".

The UK will stop giving aid to the country in 2015 as South Africa is now "in a position to fund its own development", International Development Secretary Justine Greening said yesterday.

A spokeswoman from the Department for International Development (DfID) said officials had been in discussions about the move with South Africa.

But South Africa claimed the decision had been made "unilaterally".

Mr Hague said the UK would clear up any "bureaucratic confusion" about the move but said it should not have been a surprise.

He told Radio 4's Today programme: "Britain has helped to improve matters in South Africa but we don't continue to give aid to countries that are raising their incomes, that have growing economies.

"Discussions have been going on about that for some months, it therefore shouldn't have been a surprise.

"No doubt there is some confusion or bureaucratic confusion about that perhaps, on the South African side, but I'm not going to fling accusations about that.

"We will be holding in the near future our annual bilateral forum where ministers of all departments discuss things together. If there's any confusion about this I'm sure we will clear that up then."