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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release February 27, 1998



South African Export Controls-Normalization of Defense Trade Involving Armscor, Denel, Fuchs Electronics and Related Entities

Vice President Al Gore and Deputy President Thabo Mbeki jointly announced today the normalization of defense trade between the U.S. and South Africa. This will take effect immediately through the suspension of debarment of South African companies which had been prohibited from U.S. defense trade.

Until now, the South African parastatal companies Armscor, Denel and its divisions including Kentron, as well as a private firm, Fuchs Electronics, have been prohibited from participating in transactions involving U.S. - origin defense articles, defense services and related technology because of actions undertaken during the apartheid era.

In July, 1996, Vice President Gore and South African Deputy President Mbeki agreed to a framework for resolution of the issues related to the violations. It included the establishment of export control compliance programs in each company. The U.S. and South Africa have each determined that these compliance programs are satisfactory. The programs, which were reviewed by U.S. experts February 20-26, 1998 in South Africa, are designed to ensure compliance with U.S. defense trade law and regulations when handling U.S. - origin defense items.

The suspension of debarment opens the door for normalized defense trade between the U.S. and South Africa. Requests to the U.S. Government concerning defense trade transactions that involve the South African companies will no longer be subject to a presumption of denial. Instead, they will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with foreign policy and national security criteria.