Swaziland's foreign policy is largely dictated by geographical and economic realities and the inherent conservatism of the monarchy. Nearly surrounded by South Africa, Swaziland has little choice but to maintain cordial relations with its powerful neighbor. This relationship has involved the coordination of security and intelligence operations. During the apartheid era, members of the African National Congress, banned in South Africa, were not welcome in Swaziland.
In February 1982 King Sobhuza II signed a secret security pact with South Africa, for which he came under criticism from a number of other southern African countries for establishing close ties to South Africa. The experiences of the direct raids by South African military forces against members of the African National Congress in Swaziland during the 1980s repeatedly demonstrated the country's vulnerability to South African might.
As of 2002, Swaziland receives security assistance from the United States and enjoys strong diplomatic relationships with Israel and Taiwan. In 2002, U.S. aid to Swaziland included human resource development and projects aimed at improving public health and rural water systems. Swaziland was a beneficiary of the 2002 U.S. African Growth and Opportunity Act initiative announced by President George W. Bush.
Swaziland is a member of the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and Southern African Development Community (SADC). Along with Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, and the Republic of South Africa, Swaziland is a member of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), a regional cooperative group where import duties apply uniformly to member countries. Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia, and South Africa also are members of the Common Monetary Area (CMA) in which repatriation and unrestricted funds are permitted. In 2002, Swaziland maintained diplomatic missions in Brussels, Belgium; Copenhagen, Denmark; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; London, England; Maputo, Mozambique; Nairobi, Kenya; Pretoria, South Africa; Taipei, Taiwan, Washington, D.C., and the UN.