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Transcript of joint news conference with Nelson Mandela, Sheraton Hotel, Harare



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COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

PRIME MINISTER

TRANSCRIPT OF JOINT NEWS CONFERENCE WITH NELSON MANDELA, SHERATON HOTEL, HARARE - 17 OCTOBER 1991

E & OE - PROOF ONLY

MANDELA: Well I brought the Prime Minister to answer your questions. Let me just say that I took advantage of the opportunity to brief the Prime Minister on the current

political situation in the country. He is, as you know, one of our strongest supporters, not only in rhetoric but he has done certain concrete things which has enabled us to prosecute our struggle. It is therefore very important for him to know what the latest political developments are. We

also discussed the question of sanctions, but we can't go into details about this because this is a matter which is still going to be discussed by the Heads of States. It would be improper for me to discuss the mattor with the mass media, as much οώ I .*ou.L into cbnridence. We

have adjourned now but we are meeting again to resume our discussion.

JOURNALIST: Mr Mandela, could I ask has anything happened in recent days or weeks that have changed your attitude towards sanctions?

MANDELA: Well, no, I prefer not to discuss this question. As I have said, we are discussing this matter with the Prime Minister and it is also going to be discussed by other Heads of State or Heads of Government and it would be improper for me to indicate either directly or indirectly what we have

discussed.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, could I ask is your general expectation of the timetable for removing sanctions or easing sanctions still in place or is that possibly to be changed?

PM: The position of the Government of course was support for the New Delhi formula. There are some views being put as to why there may be some need for some modification of the exact wording of New Delhi. Without going to the details of that, obviously Nelson has been talking to me on

that issue. As he says, we've got to adjourn our discussions now because he's got to see President Mugabe, but we'll be picking up those discussions later on. I'll certainly want to listen in full to what Mr Mandela has to say about their thinking. I believe the important point to make is that I believe that the Australian Government and

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Nelson Mandela are absolutely at one on this point, that we want to see, and I believe that Nelson Mandela wants to see, the sanctions lifted, all sanctions lifted as soon as possible, being compatible with the assurance that the move

to end apartheid and introduce a non-racial democratic constitution is irrevocably in place. It is in the interests of the people he represents to have them lifted as soon as possible. He's got to be certain in his mind that the processes are irrevocably in place to ensure that that happens. So within that agreed framework I certainly want to hear what h e ' s got to say about what will guarantee in his mind that assurance.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, do you still expect the people-to-people sanctions to be lifted at this CHOGM?

PM: I don't think there's any basic problem about the people-to-people sanctions, none at all. And may I just say on that, as you know Nelson Mandela's made it quite clear in

the area of South Africa's participation in the World Cricket Cup that he thinks that ought to happen.

JOURNALIST: Mr Mandela, when would be the most appropriate time for a visit by the Australian Prime Minister to South Africa, or indeed any other Western leader?

v-iANDELA: We are consulting on that. It is better to leave thcae matters for consultation bec&uLv Xiiv*' sensitive. I think it is a bit premature for us to make a very firm declaration in that regard. But if Bob came to South Africa I have no doubt it would be for a good cause, to help in the process to democratise the political

institutions of the country.

JOURNALIST: Would an interim government have to be set up for example?

MANDELA: It is better perhaps not to have, to prejudge the issue, because it might well be that his coming to the country might actually facilitate the process to establish an interim government. But we have to discuss these matters very carefully and take a decision in that context with the conditions.

JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, would you agree to any sort of acceleration of the timetable laid out in New Delhi?

MANDELA: I can answer that question for him because we are very keen that sanctions should be lifted because the people are suffering, our people are suffering as a result of sanctions. A sanction is the price ... they are prepared to

pay in order to win the right to determine their own affairs. But nevertheless, they are creating a great deal of hardship. They are also devastating our economy. Our economy today is in tatters, is in tatters and that is why therefore we are very keen that sanctions should be lifted, but that there are certain conditions which must be

fulfilled before that decision is taken. Can I ask you

please now to excuse us because I have to be at State House by half past eight.

JOURNALIST: Can you tell us if there's any possibility that for instance the trade and investment sanctions might be brought forward to that which was originally expected?

MANDELA: Our options are open but we are discussing that. There will be sufficient time for us to announce to you what our decision is on the matter.

JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, what will you be discussing with Dr Mahathir later this evening.

PM: I'll come back to that.

ends