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Senegal Talks Today Widely Assailed in S. Africa

July 09, 1987|From Reuters

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Widespread attacks were launched here Wednesday on talks starting today in Senegal between more than 50 white South African liberals and the African National Congress guerrilla movement.

Criticism came from the government-run radio, the ruling National Party, a neo-fascist movement and a leftist black organization.

Radio South Africa, in the first semi-official comment on the trip by the white South Africans to the Senegalese capital for the three-day meeting, said, "Political terrorism and political impotence have got together in Dakar this week."

The government routinely denounces contacts with the ANC, which it calls a Communist-backed terrorist group, but has refrained from formal comment since the talks were announced last Friday.

Boy Geldenhuys, the National Party's senior information director, told reporters that the meeting would give renewed credibility to the ANC "just when we have succeeded in making other countries skeptical. . . . This could do serious harm."

The far-right Afrikaner Resistance Movement, which calls for partition of South Africa into black and white sections, demanded that Pretoria revoke the passports of all the South Africans participating in the talks.

"We see them in the same light as the ANC and will treat them accordingly," the movement said.

In the past, Pretoria has confiscated or revoked passports of people seeking contact with the ANC but has not made any attempt to stop the liberals, who are headed by former opposition party leader Frederik van Zyl Slabbert.

A leftist black consciousness movement, the Azanian People's Organization, said, "We want to dispel the impression that this anthill conference has the stature of a political mountain.

"This group consists largely of political has-beens in white politics who have no mandate or sanction from any source but themselves and Western money."

Many black South Africans are reported to be angry that the ANC, dedicated to ending white rule, should have dealings with white South Africans, even those with liberal leanings.

Most South African delegates do not give unqualified support to the ANC's aim of black majority rule, but they all oppose apartheid.

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