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Book: De Klerk Angered by Mandela

January 16, 1999

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ F.W. de Klerk, South Africa’s last apartheid-era president, says at times he felt humiliated and angered by Nelson Mandela as the two negotiated the transition from white rule to democracy.

De Klerk’s bitter comments about the nation’s current president come in his soon-to-be-released autobiography, ``The Last Trek: A New Beginning,″ excerpts of which were published Friday in the Mail and Guardian newspapers.

``He accused me of being the head of an illegitimate discredited minority regime and of being incapable of holding moral standards,″ de Klerk wrote of a speech by Mandela at the outset of peace talks between the African National Congress and de Klerk’s government.

De Klerk’s National Party devised and carried out the policy of apartheid, in which South Africa’s white minority denied human and political rights to the overwhelming black majority for more than four decades.

``As he piled insult on insult I found it difficult to control my fury,″ de Klerk wrote. Afterward, he said he managed to shake Mandela’s hand.

``But (I) felt that there was no longer any possibility of our ever having a close relationship.″

Mandela spokesman Parks Mankahlana said today that the president never meant to humiliate his predecessor. Rather, Mandela has always gone out of his way to point out de Klerk’s contribution to ending apartheid, he said.

``It’s the nature of an autobiography that the author subjectively reviews the past and makes his own conclusions,″ Mankahlana said.

De Klerk also criticized Mandela for what he claimed were disparaging comments to interviewers in Oslo before the two were to receive their Nobel Peace prizes in 1993.

He also said he endured ``humiliation″ when Mandela inspected what was to become de Klerk’s official residence as vice president.

De Klerk resigned from the post. Mandela, one of the world’s most beloved leaders, will step down after South Africa’s second all-race elections, likely in May.

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