Ivory Coast President Calls for Dialogue with South Africa
PARIS (AP) _ The president of the Ivory Coast called Monday for dialogue with President P.W. Botha of South Africa to convince him of the need to end apartheid.
In a live television interview from his birthplace, Yamassoukro, Felix Houphouet-Boigny took issue with black African leaders who advocate tough economic sanctions against South Africa. The 80-year-old president told Yves Mourousi of the French television network TF-1:
″I know Botha, and I can say that he is one of the most moderate among the leaders of South Africa’s whites. But he also has problems, with his own party, with the blacks of South Africa, and with his Soviet-influen ced neighbors,″ Houphouet-Boigny said.
Dialogue with Botha is necessary ″to help him understand the need to put an end to the apartheid that revolts us all,″ he said.
″Those who irresponsibly speak of an uprising should remember what happened between 100 million Arabs and 2.5 million Israelis. Despite their intrepid bravery, the Arabs were beaten. It is the same situation in South Africa,″ he said.
He predicted that sanctions against South Africa would be ineffective.
Denouncing what he described as widespread hypocrisy on the subject, Houphouet-Boigny asked: ″What would be the extent of such sanctions or their nature, who would implement them, who would supervise them? Who would deprive himself of the rare metals of South Africa, and who would be the real victims?″
He said South Africa’s five million whites include ″highly qualified technicians ... who have made their preparations. It is the black population (of South Africa) and the neighboring countries which would pay.″
″Yet I cannot ask them to give up their demand for sanctions,″ he said, ″and I would be the first to applaud if apartheid disappeared as a result of such sanctions. But if the outcome is negative, we will have to look for other solutions.″
He said South Africa has begun, hesitantly, to loosen the apartheid racial system that regulates the lives of its 24 million blacks.
″We ask our brothers to arm themselves with a lot of patience, and, above all, not to follow those who preach violence. Those who do so will pay for it,″ Houphouet-Boigny declared.
He said no one denies that South Africa’s whites are as African as its black population. ″They are our brothers,″ he said, ″but their behavior toward our black brothers revolts us.″