Mbeki honoured by Queen ahead of London talks

Ahead of political talks with Prime Minister Tony Blair on the Zimbabwe crisis, South African President Thabo Mbeki on Thursday was awarded an honorary knighthood during an audience with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

Earlier, Blair announced that Britain will train an elite South African police unit, to help the country tackle its spiralling crime rate.

Foreign office officials said the current political crisis in Zimbabwe was expected to top the agenda. Mbeki was expected to brief Blair on his talks with President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

Britain meanwhile, was expected to offer continued help towards modernising the South African National Defence Force and the secondment of a civil servant to the South African Department of Trade to coordinate investment by British arms firms.

“South Africa is and will remain a key partner for Britain - not just in politics, business and international affairs, but also in working together to create a safer, more secure world,” Blair said.