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South Africa's De Klerk: A Chronology

SOUTH African President Frederik de Klerk's first year in office has brought change that has transformed the country's political landscape. Here is a summary of Mr. De Klerk's career and landmarks leading to the meeting with President Bush: 1972: Elected legislator for Vereeniging, South Africa. 1978: First ministerial appointment. 1982: Elected leader of the ruling National Party in Transvaal province, positioning him to be President Pieter Botha's heir as party leader. January 1989: Mr. Botha's health raises questions of succession. Feb. 2, 1989: Elected leader of the National Party by a narrow margin, but Botha retains presidency. Aug. 14, 1989: Leads united Cabinet in ousting Botha, becomes acting president. Sept. 6, 1989: Wins white election on reformist ticket. Sept. 20, 1989: Sworn in as president. Dec. 13, 1989: Meets African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela (who is still imprisoned) for the first time. Feb. 2, 1990: Lifts 30-year ban on the ANC and other groups, indicates Mr. Mandela will be freed soon. Feb. 11, 1990: Mandela, free after 27 years, describes De Klerk as ``a man of integrity.'' Mar. 21, 1990: Scores first major diplomatic breakthrough at Namibian independence celebration, where he meets Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, many African leaders, and later meets US Secretary of State James Baker III in Cape Town. May 2-4, 1990: Leads government officials in first talks with ANC delegation led by Mandela. Tentative accord agreed upon to work toward cooperation and ending violence. May 20, 1990: Embarks on extensive tour of Western Europe, where he is received by nine heads of state, including Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Aug. 6, 1990: At second round of talks between ANC and the government, the ANC suspends its 29-year-old ``armed struggle.'' Aug. 17, 1990: Declares ruling National Party open to all races. A senior official promises an end to all apartheid laws. US then says De Klerk is ``a man of his word.'' Sept. 14-21, 1990: Responds to mounting political violence in the black townships with strong-arm tactics. Appoints special investigators to probe causes after conceding that a ``hidden hand'' appears to be at work. Mandela says the security crackdown is a ``license to kill'' and the ANC, for the first time in a formal statement, accuses De Klerk of ``bad faith.'' Sept. 24, 1990: Received by President Bush at the White House during the first official visit by a South African leader in more than four decades.

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