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Italian foreign minister remembers Nelson Mandela's honesty

'Gave due credit to De Klerk, boosted reconciliation'

06 December, 14:37
Italian foreign minister remembers Nelson Mandela's honesty (see related) (ANSA) - Rome, December 6 - Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino on Friday remembered Nelson Mandela's "great intellectual honesty" after news of the South African leader's death Thursday night at the age of 95.

"What I remember about him is his great intellectual honesty. He was someone who gave due credit to De Klerk in overcoming apartheid, thus creating the foundation, in this recognition of the adversary, to what became the line of his entire presidency - reconciliation," Bonino said, speaking to journalists on the margins of a foreign ministry conference in Rome.

"This is a teaching that is extremely useful to us, even in these days and in many countries," Bonino added. Frederik Willem de Klerk was the last president of South Africa's apartheid era. De Klerk won the Nobel Peace prize in 1993 along with Nelson Mandela for brokering the end of country's racial segregation policy and for paving the way toward equal rights for all citizens in the black-majority country. Bonino said she met Mandela when she was a European commissioner in the 1990s and attended his first address as president to the South African parliament in 1994.

"Then we had a bilateral meeting, and as noted, I remember his great intellectual honesty," said Bonino.