THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
President Clinton held separate meetings this afternoon with South African State President F.W. de Klerk and African National Congress President Nelson Mandela. The meetings lasted about 30 minutes each.
The two meetings focused on the process of democratic reform in South Africa and how the United States can assist that historic process. The President expressed his appreciation for the leadership demonstrated by both individuals in moving South Africa towards the threshold of a nonracial democracy. He expressed particular admiration to President Mandela for his courage and dignity through decades of struggle and sacrifice against the evils of apartheid, and to President de Klerk for his wisdom and determination in moving to dismantle that destructive system. He welcomed the announcement earlier today of the setting of a date for holding the first nonracial elections in South Africa's history and the progress made toward creation of a Transitional Executive Council (TEC) which will help ensure those elections are free and fair.
President Clinton welcomed the progress achieved in the negotiations in the last few days and commended all those working for a peaceful transition to democracy. He pledged that the United States will be a full partner in building democracy in South Africa, including continued support for programs of voter education and training of election monitors. He stressed the need to begin to tackle the cruel legacies of apartheid, including economic inequity, unemployment, inadequate housing and poor education for South Africa's non-white population. He said that the United States will press for a commitment at the G-7 Summit in Tokyo next week to reintegrate South Africa into the world economy with agreement on a non-racial democracy.
The President noted that the Administration is working with Congress and anti-apartheid groups to develop additional support measures once negotiations have progressed to the point where it is appropriate to lift remaining sanctions. Among these measures are negotiation of an OPIC investment encouragement agreement, a tax treaty and a housing investment guarantee program. Once the TEC is created, the United States will stand ready to support its institutions designed to facilitate a smooth transition to democracy.
The President also underscored the importance of the private sector in creating growth and equality in South Africa. He looks forward to the day when all South Africans can call for the lifting of remaining economic and financial sanctions, including state and local government sanctions, and hopes that day will come soon.
The President also expressed to President de Klerk the deep appreciation of the United States for the recent decision by the Government of South Africa to forego development of a space-launch vehicle program. He noted that the United States can now look forward to cooperation with a democratic South Africa on the peaceful uses of space technology.
President Clinton said that he welcomed the opportunity to celebrate our Independence Day by presenting Freedom Awards to Presidents de Klerk and Mandela in Philadelphia on Sunday, July 4.
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