Mandela welcomes de Klerk's endorsement of alliance

Cape Town- South Africa (PANA) -- Former president Nelson Mandela has lauded FW de Klerk for endorsing the co-operation pact between the African National Congress (ANC) and the New National Party (NNP) for this year's general elections.
Mandela was president in 1996 when de Klerk led his party out of the government of national unity.
The two leaders shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts in dismantling apartheid.
Mandela, who was addressing reporters in Cape Town on Tuesday, said "bygones should be bygones", and added that he was more concerned with the present.
"What is happening is that Mr.
de Klerk is co-operating with us in an exemplary way.
That is what is important," the world statesman said.
On Monday night, de Klerk addressed a political rally near Cape Town, saying he backed the pact between the two parties because he had always believed in the necessity of inter-party co- operation.
"There is a strong perception that our transition process has become a one-sided affair, that the legitimate concerns of some communities are not receiving proper attention, that we are moving dangerously close to a new institutionalised form of race discrimination," de Klerk said.
However, the opposition Democratic Alliance described the endorsement as proof that the NNP has been co-opted by the ANC.
"What the ANC/NNP deal amounts to is NNP support for ANC policy and performance," said DA chief election spokesman Douglas Gibson.

03 february 2004 14:26:00

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