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De Klerk Appeals For Reconciliation

December 25, 1989

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ President F.W. de Klerk, in a Christmas message to the nation, urged South Africans to ″show the world how people of different cultures can work together in friendship.″

In his message Sunday, De Klerk also appealed to church leaders to work with him in trying to create ″a new, just South Africa.″ This contrasted with frequent admonitions of his predecessor, P.W. Botha, that the clergy should stay out of politics.

Botha quit the presidency in August after losing a power struggle with de Klerk, who has made a series of conciliatory moves aimed at clearing the way for negotiations with black leaders.

De Klerk has offered to negotiate a new constitution that would extend political rights to blacks, although he opposes a one-person, one-vote system that would lead to black majority rule.

″We reject confrontation and conflict and seek reconciliation and cooperation,″ he said in his nationally broadcast message. ″Let us show the world how people of different cultures can work together in friendship and peace with mutual respect. This cannot be achived by coercion, only by honest dialogue and negotiation.″

He urged those who feel wronged by past events to ″put their bitterness behind them″ and said all South Africans should ″get to know one other better and understand each other’s fears and aspirations.″

″May 1990 be the foundation of a new, just South Africa,″ he said.

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