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Frederick W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela

Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation 1992

Nelson Mandela

Your Majesty The Queen,
Your Royal Highness The Prince of Asturias,
Your Excellencies,
The President of the Prince of Asturias Foundation,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a single and notable honour for me to receive from Your Royal Highness, Don Felipe, the Prize for International Co-operation, named after you. This is my third visit to Spain and each has been an occasion for joy and celebration.

In July the world rejoiced with you when Spain hosted the Olympic Games, a spectacular gathering of the world at peace with itself.

The ceremonies showed to the world that Spain can unite the old and the new and forge a common identity out of its richness of diverse regions, culture and civilisation.

The world needs peace so that the proud claims in the Charter of the United Nations concerning development, security and good neighbourliness can be renewed and refashioned to meet the challenges of the future. We must all support the review of the challenges of the future. We must all support the review of the role of the United Nations now being undertaken so that a democratic and stronger United Nations can fulfil the hopes of humanity.

International relations and co-operation cannot be developed if states simply rely on supremacy and power. The new international order must not become a cloak for the naked seel-interest of states but must be based on solidarity and international law.

During our long years of imprisonment on Robben Island, our real contact with the international community was through the principles of international law and the forums of the United Nations. We were sustained by the support of the international community who, even during the height of the Cold War, by their consensus, united in the rejection of apartheid. It is our great challenge to develop new areas of consensus to consolidate the developments of our era.

The principle of decolonisation and the acceptance of the rights of all nations to belong to and participate equally in the life of the world community must not be debased so as to oppress other peoples.

Further, the acceptance of universally applicable standards of human rights, the enjoyment of which is the right of all human beings and the protection of which is the responsibility of all states, must now be strengthened by collective measures under the auspices of the Security Council to avert gross violations of human rights and the crime of all crimes, genocide.

Finally, the international community must, as an urgent priority establish mechanisms to ensure that the finite resources of our planet are not dissipated. The acceptance or our planet and its resources and the promotion of a healthy environment for all is a human right.

Africa's heritage of beneficial, cultural, political and social relations with the peoples of other continents is a proud and creative achievement of a human-centred sensibility. We still endeavour to emulate its values. In particular, our relations with Spain, dating back to ancient times, compel us to speculate - what Euro-African culture would have been had Hannibal' elephants not wearied as they were heading towards Rome -.

The situation in many parts of the African continent can only be described as calamitous. The spectre of famine, starvation, violence and diseases, such as AIDS, is stalking at a time when science and modern technology are reaching the heights of accomplishment. The international community responds with various forms of aid. We welcome and need this solidarity, with the injunction that what our continent needs, above all, is development, to promote and realise our human potential at its fullest.

Development is in the interest of all humankind. Massive inequality in our globe is as dangerous, unjust and destabilising as gross inequalities within a country. The North-South debate must be renewed and the international structures of co-operation must be strengthened.

Old patterns of trade, of absolute sovereignty coupled with selfish and total irresponsibility must give way to new relations of inter-dependence and development. This is the path of peace based on justice.

South Africa is preparing to take its rightful place in the international community, no longer as an international parish but as a country which is about to grasp the challenge of non-racialism and democracy. We must therefore pay our tribute to the international community for its contribution to the struggle against racism and apartheid and, especially, for the sacrifices made by many countries in Africa. Without such solidarity, we would not be walking the last mile to freedom.

The foreign policy of the apartheid region was an extension of its aggressive and violent nature. Isolated by the international community, it pursued every means to circumvent its isolation. Where it could, it appealed to narrow self-interest and hegemony in order to undermine its isolation. When it could not, it resorted to coercion, destabilisation and military aggression.

A free South Africa must forever remove the spectre of force in its relations with other states.

The policy of a free South Africa will therefore contribute to the democratisation of international political and economic relations. In a changing world, we will support the proposal to declare Africa as a Nuclear-free Zone and the Indian Ocean as a Sea of Peace. We will end, therefore, local ambitions to become a nuclear power. On the arms trade, we must avoid our economy becoming irretrievably sucked into this immoral trade or destruction.

Most importantly, we play a full and dynamic role in regional and international organisations to help overcome the ravages of apartheid and the destabilisation of our neighbours and to build a world where all are cherished equally. I ask Spain to join in this exciting and bold task.

It gives me great pleasure to accept this prestigious and important award.

Thank you.

Frederick W. de Klerk

Speech by Mr Frederich G. Conradie, Ambassador of the South African Republic to Spain, on behalf of Mr. De Klerk.

Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, Most Honourable President of the Principality of Asturias, Most Honourable Minister of Work, Most Honourable President of the Prince of Asturias Foundation, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the President of the Republic of South Africa, Frederik Willem De Klerk, I wish to transmit to His Royal Highness his most sincere thanks for the privilege that receiving the extremely prestigious 1992 Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation represents. As joint Laureate, President De Klerk considers the Award a great honour, one that recognized the initiatives undertaken by the South African Government to bring about important political changes in the country. The President accepts the Award on behalf of all those in South Africa who have helped and supported him in his efforts and who continue to strive to achieve the lofty goals that are implicit in the Prince of Asturias Award, including that of achieving a just and democratic political system for South Africa.

Since its beginnings, the history of South Africa has been characterized by a search on the part of the different peoples living in this southernmost part of Africa for a just and lasting solution to the problem of peaceful coexistence. For that reason, periods of intense warring conflicts have been interspersed with others in which different political formulas were adopted with the hope of bringing peace and lasting prosperity to this troubled country. Nevertheless, neither unification, colonialism nor the other solutions employed were successful, mainly because all of them suffered from an essential defect: none managed to establish a democracy for all South Africans. That is the failure which the South African Government has been trying to remedy since 1990. The road to success is hard, as has been clearly demonstrated over the last three years. However, President De Klerk is absolutely determined to continue on the path of reform and aspires to succeed in this respect, as he and other leaders count on the support of the majority of the people of his country in this endeavour.

For a long time, Spain has maintained both friendly relations and an intense interest in South Africa and this attitude on the part of such an important member of the European Community is of great value to and constitutes a stimulus for South Africa. In our efforts to find a political solution for the country, this interest is greatly appreciated. The South African Government appreciates the support received from Spain in this regard.

From such a prestigious Spanish podium as this, linked by such strong ties with the whole Spanish-speaking world, President De Klerk wishes to express his gratitude for the international cooperation that his Government and the people of South Africa have received in their efforts to achieve a just South Africa.

In conclusion, on behalf of President De Klerk, I wish to convey his most sincere thanks to the Rectors of the Universities of Seville, Madrid and Barcelona, who put forward his name for the Award, and the Prince of Asturias Foundation, for the faith it has shown in South Africa and its leaders via the conferral of the Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation. The recognition of its commitment to peace, stability, economic prosperity and a just political system in a new and democratic South Africa, as reflected in this prestigious award, will imbue it with even more inspiration.

Thank you very much.

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