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U.S. Department of State
96/10/12 Press Remarks with President Mandela, South Africa
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
(Cape Town, South Africa)
For Immediate Release October 12, 1996
JOINT PRESS AVAILABILITY
BY THE PRESIDENT OF SOUTH AFRICA
AND U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
Cape Town, South Africa
October 12, 1996
PRESIDENT MANDELA: Mr. Warren Christopher, U.S. Secretary of State,
needs no introduction.
We have discussed a number of issues. First, the suggestion of a task
force for dealing with crises in Africa; second the question of Nigeria;
and thirdly, Burundi and then the question of the Secretary, the
Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Boutros-Ghali.
I thanked him for raising these issues, especially the first one about a
peace force in Africa to deal with crises and the fact that the leader
of the West should be concerned over what is happening in Africa is a
matter of great satisfaction to me. It is a concept which has got quite
a lot of potential, but my point of view is that if this initiative is
going to succeed it must have credibility. It must not come from one
country; it should actually be the initiative of the United Nations and
in such a case it will receive wide support. Credibility is absolutely
important so that we can concentrate on the problems themselves instead
of allowing detractors to have ammunition to shoot down an initiative
which would be in the interests of Africa as a whole. I also pointed
out, in this regard, I am part of the Southern African Development
Community as well as the Organization of African Unity. I could have no
individual views apart from the two organizations of which I am a
member. I would therefore refer this matter to these organizations, who
would discuss the matter and come back again to the Secretary of State.
The Secretary raised the concerns of the leaders in the surrounding
areas who are dealing with the question of Burundi. As you know,
sanctions have been applied and we also have been invited to join in
applying the sanctions against Burundi, but the leaders, at the same
time, feel that space must be given to the President there who staged
this coup. Foreign Minister Buyoyo discussed this with him because one
of the most unfortunate issues about sanctions is that they hit not only
the culprit but the innocent civilians; therefore those who are involved
in applying sanctions constantly think in terms of the effect of such
sanctions on innocent people in the country itself. I thought that was a
We also discussed, in passing, Nigeria, and I indicated the efforts that
we have made in order to bring Abacha on board and the Secretary of
State also expressed his own views.
We also discussed the Secretary General, as I said. Our attitude in
Africa both in SADC and the OAU is to support Boutros Ghali in seeking a
second term. We are aware of the attitude of the United States of
America. We know the difficulties which we are facing if we cannot get
the United States of America on board on this question.
The OAU Summit in Cameroon took a decision on sending a delegation to
see President Clinton on this question so that we can discuss the matter
at length and see whether we can come to some common agreement. I will
be speaking one of these days to President Paul Biya of Cameroon, who is
the chairman of the OAU, to find out how far this initiative has gone.
But I really appreciated the visit of the Secretary of State and the
fact that the United States should be so interested in what is going on
in Africa. That is a very good sign indeed. I am sure that the Secretary
of State would like to say something.
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Thank you Mr. President. It is always a special
honor to be in the presence of President Mandela. It is always
inspiring to me. I am particularly grateful to him this morning for
rearranging his schedule so that we could meet before he has to leave
for difficult travel today and I am very grateful to you Mr. President
for doing that.
As you can see from his very adroit summary, we covered a lot of ground
in the time we had together. I want to emphasize the compliments that I
gave the President on their constitutional processes here in South
Africa, as well as on his many other activities both here in his
country, in the region, and in the world as a whole, providing such a
strong force for leadership around the world. I think the United States
intends to continue to stand by and help South Africa in every way that
we can. We have embarked on a number of bilateral programs -- something
which we will be discussing further today. Thank you, Mr. President,
for having received me at this early hour of the morning. I wish you
very well as you go about your very important work.
PRESIDENT MANDELA: Thank you very much.
QUESTION: Mr. President if I could ask on the rapid intervention
force, you say that the initiative should be with the United Nations and
not the United States, would you be willing to accept US finance for
such a ...
PRESIDENT MANDELA: Well, I would like the whole forces to come through
the United Nations organization and both the concept itself as well as
all the surrounding facts including resources and equipment.
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: If I could comment just briefly on that. I
assured the President that the United States is working closely with
international organizations as well as countries of the region to try to
develop this concept. This concept is neither new nor one that is
exclusively generated from the United States. We simply think that with
the crises coming on the scene that we need to be better prepared to
deal with them. We certainly intend to work through and with the United
Nations as well as with the OAU. As you know, some of you were with me
at the OAU the day before yesterday; you know we are working closely
with them and will have to do so in the future.
QUESTION; President Mandela, did you reach any agreement on further
action towards Nigeria. The Secretary had indicated earlier that he felt
that extra action was required?
PRESIDENT MANDELA: No we did not. I did point out that we in the
Commonwealth are expecting a report from that task group. The reason
why they are going to Nigeria is to ensure that they give us a report
and with the time at our disposal it was not possible for us to go into
details as to what could be done. In the meantime we will wait for that
QUESTION: Mr. Mandela, would South Africa be prepared, in principle, to
supply or contribute troops to some form of African Crisis Response
Force and, secondly, did you discuss other areas of disagreement in the
past including Iran and Libya?
PRESIDENT MANDELA: No, the Secretary of State is a very diplomatic man.
He didn't raise these questions, but in so far as contributing a force
towards addressing crises in Africa we are part of the United Nations.
We are part of the OAU. If we are asked by these organizations of which
we are members -- and if we have the capacity -- we will discuss the
matter amongst ourselves the Minister of Defense, with the Head of the
Defense Force who is here today, George Meiring, and with Parliament and
wherever we feel it is absolutely necessary for us to make a
contribution, we'll do so. We are quite aware that, especially in our
region here, no military initiative can succeed without the involvement
of South Africa and we're saying so not out of boasting but because that
is the reality. If we are asked by international bodies of which we are
members to make a contribution I am sure all of us will be keen to do
QUESTION: Mr. Christopher have you been disappointed by this response
from the South African President?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Not at all. It's exactly the kind of exploration
that we want to have to get the views of the countries in the region.
Generally speaking, as I've traveled around Africa, I found that people
are positive about the general concept, understand the importance of
having forces that can be deployed more rapidly and want to work through
the details in a way that is consistent with African views. Some have
called it African ownership of the concept and we're very anxious to
move forward having gathered these ideas from my trip around Africa as
well as the earlier trip of some of my colleagues.
QUESTION: But don't all these ideas suggest that your effort to try get
the initiative under way in six months will be impractical?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: No, I think that we simply have to take these
ideas back and formulate the proposal in a way that takes into account
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