S. African Leader Holds Talks in Zambia : De Klerk Briefs President Kaunda on His Plan to End Apartheid

Times Staff Writer

Acting President Frederik W. de Klerk of South Africa on Monday met President Kenneth D. Kaunda of Zambia, one of his harshest critics in black-ruled Africa, near the misty rainbows of Victoria Falls and outlined his “positive, hopeful vision” of ending apartheid.

After the amicable, 2 1/2-hour meeting, the first for a white South African president on Zambian soil, Kaunda said he saw “no disagreement at all” with the “basic principles that this president told me he intends to implement” in South Africa.

Kaunda, one of Africa’s senior statesmen, and De Klerk, who has been South Africa’s acting leader for only two weeks, said they also discussed the future of southern Africa. The topics included the fledgling peace process in Angola, the economic troubles of countries such as Kaunda’s Zambia and the need for regional economic cooperation.


Improved Ties Sought

The meeting, De Klerk’s second with an African leader in four days, is seen as part of a broad attempt to improve South Africa’s foreign relations and to cast De Klerk as a leader capable of ending apartheid and, along with it, his country’s isolation.

The two leaders said they did not discuss the outlawed African National Congress, to which Kaunda has given sanctuary during its 24-year-old guerrilla war against South Africa, or recent ANC proposals for negotiations with the white minority-led government in Pretoria.

“It didn’t come up, it wasn’t discussed and it wasn’t on the agenda at all,” De Klerk told a news conference.

De Klerk’s predecessor, Pieter W. Botha, had objected to De Klerk’s talks with Kaunda and resigned from the presidency Aug. 14 after the Cabinet ignored his concerns. Botha said Kaunda should be shunned because he allows the ANC to base its operations in Zambia.

The ruling white National Party in South Africa, which De Klerk heads, has consistently refused to negotiate with the ANC unless it renounces violence. The ANC has declined to negotiate with Pretoria until it lifts the state of emergency, removes a ban on anti-apartheid organizations and frees all political prisoners.

De Klerk is expected to win a full five-year term after next week’s parliamentary elections. He has little foreign policy experience, but he has expressed a desire, along with Foreign Minister Roelof F. (Pik) Botha, to improve South Africa’s relations with its black-ruled neighbors and to use its economic strength to help the region, which is littered with crumbling economies.


Kaunda, who has met two previous South African presidents, said the meeting in this resort town near the Zimbabwean border was intended as a way to size up De Klerk. A vocal critic of South Africa’s rulers during his 25 years in power, Kaunda added that he will report back to the ANC and the leaders of other so-called front-line states bordering South Africa.

De Klerk and Kaunda also discussed the attempts to end Angola’s 14-year-old civil war--a prime topic of De Klerk’s meeting last Friday with President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, mediator of the Angolan peace talks.

Truce Violation Alleged

The U.S.-backed rebel movement, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), says a two-month-old truce signed June 22 at Gbadolite, Zaire, has been broken. UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi has criticized Kaunda for suggesting that Savimbi had agreed to voluntary exile.

On Monday, Kaunda seemed to back away from that position, saying: “The whole thing in Angola is in the hands of President Mobutu. He’s our mediator. There are differences, which President Mobutu will be handling on our behalf.”

In discussing South Africa, De Klerk repeated his campaign promise that his government would “put emphasis on getting negotiations (with black leaders) off the ground.” Former President Botha had failed in his efforts to find legitimate leaders of the black majority willing to talk with the government.

‘Listened Carefully’

De Klerk said he outlined “what I perceive to be a new mood in South Africa and a real wish among the silent majority to reach peaceful solutions.” But he added that he “stressed very strongly that South Africans will find solutions suitable for South Africa,” suggesting that his country, like Zambia and other African countries, does not need outside mediators to resolve its problems.


De Klerk said Kaunda “listened very carefully to everything I had to say. His basic reaction was a positive one but also a wait-and-see one.”

A senior South African foreign affairs official said the two men appeared to get along well. “There was complete rapport between them . . . and a feeling of friendship,” he said.

Kaunda had his first meeting with a South African leader 14 years ago when he and B. J. Vorster talked in a railroad car parked on a bridge over a deep gorge halfway between Zimbabwe and Zambia. He met President Botha several years ago in Botswana.