Mandela rejects U.S.-Africa trade bill
Mandela says security under control
March 29, 1998
Web posted at: 2:37 p.m. EST (1937 GMT)
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (CNN) -- President Nelson Mandela
on Sunday welcomed African aid from the United States, but
again firmly rejected any trade relations that would come
with strings attached or limit transactions with such
countries as Cuba, Libya or Iran.
"We welcome American aid. It has been useful in helping us
address questions of poverty in our country," Mandela told
CNN in an interview, commenting on U.S. assistance for South
"But we resist any attempt by any country to impose
conditions on our freedom of trade," he said.
Mandela was referring to the African Growth and Opportunity
bill, currently before the U.S. Congress.
President Bill Clinton told American and South African
business leaders earlier in the week that the bill would lay
the foundation for a sound future relationship between the
||President Nelson Mandela speaks with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on
"Late Edition" Sunday
Mandela on freedom-of-trade restrictions
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American Aid to South Africa
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Mandela responds to Blitzer's question about a coup
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"This is not charity, it's enlightened self-interest. It's a
good thing for the United States and a good thing for
Africa," Clinton said, mentioning U.S. investment
possibilities and the expected return from those investments.
In his interview with CNN, Mandela criticized the bill. "The
provisions in this bill, which restrict our freedom to trade
with other countries, is something we find totally
The disagreement between the United States and South Africa
-- to which Mandela has frankly admitted -- focuses on Cuba,
Libya and Iran.
Washington would like to see other nations follow its own
trade restrictions of these countries. But Mandela has
repeatedly made clear that those nations were supportive of
his anti-apartheid struggle and said that critics of his
dealings with them could "throw themselves in a pool."
Mandela says security forces under control
Mandela also commented on a military report that suggested
there had been a plot to overthrow his government.
"We are in complete command of the security forces in this
country," Mandela said. He admitted that there were what he
called "disloyal elements" in South Africa but added that "we
will be able to deal with them swiftly and decisively, should
they try anything."
On Friday, Mandela ordered an urgent judicial inquiry into
the intelligence report, which he reportedly received in
February. The report alleged there was a conspiracy within
the government's security forces to depose him.
Mandela said the inquiry would focus not on the allegation of
a coup but on how the intelligence report was compiled and
sent to him, bypassing the defense minister.
Mandela has repeatedly warned of attempts by some people in
the country to destabilize the post-apartheid government, and
he has called on South Africans not to become complacent
about the possible threat.
Reuters contributed to this report.