De Klerk, Mandela Urge End of Apartheid as Talks Begin
President Frederik W. de Klerk and African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela today urged the swift abolition of apartheid and began historic talks aimed at ending white-minority rule.
The three days of meetings are to remove obstacles to full-scale negotiations on a new constitution that would give the 28-million black majority a voice in national affairs for the first time.
De Klerk and Mandela, standing on the lawn of a Dutch colonial mansion where the talks were held, said South Africans of all races want swift change. All political parties must work toward a peaceful solution to racial and political divisions, they said.
Nearby, the pro-apartheid Conservative Party walked out of a debate in Parliament to protest the talks. The Conservative leader, Andries Treurnicht, said the government should not negotiate with an organization that has carried out guerrilla attacks and still was committed to armed struggle.
“South African law forbids all these actions,” said Treurnicht, whose party is the main opposition in Parliament’s white chamber. The tri-cameral Parliament also has chambers for people of mixed-race and Indian descent. Blacks are excluded.