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Zulu Chief Encouraged by Peres’ Rejection of South African Apartheid

South African Zulu Chief Gatsha Buthelezi told a press conference here Thursday, before returning home from a week’s visit to Israel, that he felt “very encouraged” by what he said was Premier Shimon Peres’ complete rejection of South Africa’s apartheid policies.

He said that Peres’ stand, expressed during their meeting in Jerusalem, “contradicts the image projected for various reasons that Israel does not feel as strongly as it should about apartheid.”

Buthelezi said he hoped Israel would exert “optimum leverage” through diplomatic channels to pressure South African President P. W. Botha into making reforms. He said that both Peres and Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir had been “open to all suggestions,” but he would not say whether he had discussed specific measures to that end. The Zulu Chief added that he had not been surpirsed by the depth of Israeli opposition to apartheid, “given the long history of suffering of Jews.” He said that Israeli experts will soon visit Kwa-Zulu, the homeland of the Zulu tribe, to assess possible avenues for Israeli assistance to South African Blacks, concurrently to its diplomatic ties with the white regime.

The Zulu leader has been an outspoken critic of the armed struggle by South African Blacks against the Pretoria regime, and has espoused nonviolent, democratic means of bringing about change. He has repeatedly attacked the outlawed and exiled African National Congress and the United Democratic Front for playing an “unholy duet of violence” against Blacks in South Africa. The United Democratic Front is the principal opposition group within the country.

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