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Mandela Thanks Dutch for Support

March 13, 1999

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) _ Nelson Mandela praised the Dutch government on Friday for helping bring an end to apartheid and appealed for continued support to help South Africa’s poor profit from their hard-won freedom.

``We need those who were our allies in struggle to be our partners in giving material content to our freedom,″ the South African president said.

On the last day of a triumphant two-day farewell tour of the Netherlands, Mandela was again surrounded by crowds of cheering fans whenever he appeared in public.

Although his visit was largely ceremonial, Mandela used a speech to Dutch parliament to appeal for aid and investment to help the government help South Africa’s poor.

``In the end, our democracy will always be fragile and our rights lacking in content unless they bring material improvements in the lives of especially the poor,″ Mandela said.

Mandela is touring northern Europe to thank supporters of the anti-apartheid movement before he steps down after June 2 elections in South Africa. Mandela said he was confident his nation would be in safe hands after he gives up the presidency.

``I am part of a team,″ Mandela said. ``A team of men and women who will be able to raise South Africa to a higher level than I have been able to do. I am very happy about the future.″

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