Israel Sets Its Own Pace on South Africa Ties

Israel will follow its own timetable for normalizing relations with South Africa as that country dismantles the structures of apartheid, it was reported by the Israeli daily Ha’aretz on Tuesday.

Israel plans to gradually lift sanctions, but will visibly coordinate its policies with the United States, said Ha’aretz, which added that the decisions will be made by the Foreign Ministry and then, presumably, by the entire Cabinet.

According to the newspaper, Israel is reconsidering its participations in U.N.-mandated restrictions on trade with South Africa. But it is keeping a close watch on the U.S. government and on public reaction in the United States to the latest South African moves.

The Pretoria government on Monday repealed its 1950 Populations Registration Act, the linchpin of the apartheid system, which classified all South Africans by race from birth.

Ha’aretz said diplomatic contacts have begun concerning a state visit to Israel by South African President F.W. de Klerk in three to four months.

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