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US Should View South Africa As Friend, Botha Says

April 21, 1988

WASHINGTON (AP) _ South African President Pieter W. Botha says the United States should view South Africa ″as a country worth having as a friend,″ USA Today reported in Friday editions.

In an interview last Friday with three USA Today staffers, Botha also criticized foreign news media coverage of troubles in his racially segregated country, said he believes in reform, and told the interviewers that Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu is ″not representative of the vast majority of Christians in South Africa.″

″South Africa should be seen in the eyes of reasonable Americans as a country worth having as a friend,″ Botha told the newspaper. ″To a large extent, the misunderstandings and confusion are the result of mischief makers who wish to see that the U.S. and South Africa do not associate properly in the free world.″

As for foreign news media, Botha said, ″In some cases, television representatives staged and took part in attempts to stage incidents in South Africa and that is why we brought it to an end.″

He told the interviewers, ″I believe in reform,″ but also noted, ″Reform should take place first of all, as far as underdeveloped peoples are concerned, socially and economically, because you can’t eat votes and you can’t wear votes as clothing. I believe South Africa has gone very far.″

As for Tutu, a black activist churchman, Botha said: ″He is a man of the cloth, but I think he is too politically minded. He is not representative of the vast majority of Christians in South Africa. South Africa is 80 percent a Christian country. Among Christians, Bishop Tutu represents a small minority.″

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