Today, Pretoria`s President, F.W. de Klerk, made important announcements which go a long way towards creating a climate conducive to negotiations.

We welcome the lifting of the bans on the ANC and other organisations. We also welcome other positive measures announced by F.W. de Klerk such as the suspension of the death sentence, the release of some political prisoners, the ending of media restrictions and the lifting of restrictions on ex-detainees.

We are however gravely concerned that the Pretoria regime has taken the decision that some political prisoners will not be released, that the state of emergency is not lifted in its entirety and that the practice of detention without trial will continue. These decisions subtract rather than add to the process of creating the proper political climate. They must be reviewed and changed without delay.

We urge the Pretoria regime to release Nelson Mandela without further delay. Questions concerning his personal security cannot be and are not the exclusive concern of the South African regime. They must be decided together with his organisation, the ANC.

The ANC will take urgent measures to review the new situation that has emerged, to determine the steps we have to take to move our country further forward towards finally ending the apartheid system. This will include a process of consultation with the mass democratic movement of our country and all other anti-apartheid forces.

The normalisation of relations between South Africa and the rest of the world must continue to depend on ending the apartheid system. We therefore expect that no country committed to ending white minority domination in South Africa will do anything to lessen the isolation of the apartheid regime.

The ANC remains committed to doing everything in its power to end the apartheid system as quickly as possible, and by all means possible, including negotiations.

The review of the new situation will therefore include an assessment of the prospects of genuine negotiations to end the apartheid system.

This situation also calls for the greatest unity of all forces within our country that are committed to the perspective of a united, democratic and nonracial South Africa. We therefore call on all our people to work for this unity with even greater vigour.

ES Reddy