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The U.N. General Assembly decided Friday to lift immediately all economic sanctions on South Africa in a strong show of support for democratic reforms that would result in the election of the first black government in South Africa.

The assembly adopted by consensus, or without a vote, a resolution asking governments to end the economic punishment of South Africa because "the transition to democracy has now been enshrined in the law in South Africa."The resolution called on governments to take "appropriate measures within their jurisdiction to lift the restrictions and prohibitions" they had imposed on South Africa.

The end of the sanctions would allow two-way economic relations between South Africa and the rest of the world in areas dealing with trade, travel, investment, finance and transportation.

The General Assembly also decided that the oil embargo on South Africa would be lifted as soon as the Transitional Executive Council "becomes operational" in November.

The TEC is the transitional body that will govern the country until general elections scheduled for next April 27. That body was made into law by the South African Parliament on Sept. 23.

Ibrahim Gambari, the chairman of the U.N. Committee Against Apartheid, told the General Assembly before the adoption of the resolution that lifting the sanctions will help the transition to democracy.

The economic and oil embargo was decreed by the General Assembly in the 1970s. In 1974, it expelled the South African delegation from its ranks but allowed that country to keep its U.N. membership.

The United States, Canada and European Community countries have already begun to dismantle legislations to end the sanctions. When the sanctions went into effect, those countries withdrew tens of billions of dollars worth of investments from South Africa.


(Additional information)

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