Johannesburg - Former president FW de Klerk on Tuesday said the only way the fighting in the Middle East could stop was through dialogue.
“What is happening there is tragic. I believe that the only way out of it is through negotiations,” he said at the Maropeng Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, where imprints of his feet were made in clay.
“We have learnt in South Africa after centuries of conflict, after decades of growing conflict that the only way to end conflict is for past enemies to sit around the table and talk to each other.”
De Klerk said both sides had to make initiatives that would lead to peace prevailing. The Associated Press reported that the fighting between the two nations has killed at least 1085 Palestinians, 52 Israeli soldiers and three civilians on the Israeli side.
De Klerk gave an example of the initiatives that were taken in SA that eventually led to the end of apartheid and smooth transition into democracy.
“Two initiatives launched the negotiations in South Africa. The initiatives I announced on February 2, 1990 and then the initiatives by Madiba (Nelson Mandela) to say we suspend the armed struggle,” he said.
De Klerk said the two initiatives set the stage for meaningful and, in the end, successful negotiations and such initiatives were needed in the Middle East.
“We need the issue of borders to be addressed in a meaningful way and Israel needs to take initiative in that regard to my mind. We need from the Palestinian side recognition of the right of the state of Israel to exist.
“If those two basic things can be dealt with through initiatives by those who have capacity to take initiative in that regard, it will lay the cloth for meaningful negotiations,” he said.