But while the two sides toned down accusations over the killings, the security forces continued to accuse the ANC's military wing of plotting to assassinate Ciskei's military leader, Brigadier Oupa Gqozo. The ANC said it hoped this was not a spoiling tactic sanctioned by the government.
The ANC general secretary, Cyril Ramaphosa, and the Constitutional Development Minister, Roelf Meyer, are expected to discuss conditions for a summit, and what it might achieve. Talks between the two are the only contact between the two sides since the ANC called off negotiations in July over the Boipatong massacre.
The government called the talks about talks 'a crack in the door'. Mr de Klerk says he wants the two leaders to meet as soon as possible: 'It is what our country and our people demand of us.' But the ANC may prove more cautious. Although it is keen on a summit, Mr Ramaphosa has said it must produce visible results, which include meeting ANC demands to curb the violence.
If the summit comes off, it is likely to be behind closed doors. The two sides have agreed to avoid external pressure that makes concessions difficult. One of the factors blamed for the failure of the second Convention for a Democratic South Africa meeting in April was that public stands taken at the talks made compromise difficult without loss of face.
The atmosphere of reconciliation yesterday did not extend to the South African military, which has defended its Ciskei counterpart's crowd control methods, saying the ANC was to blame for the homeland's military opening fire with live ammunition.
The South African Army chief, Lieutenant-General George Meiring, said the ANC military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), has stockpiled a rocket launcher, small arms and Ciskei uniforms in preparation for an attempt to kill Brig Gqozo. He said MK's chief of operations, Lambert Moloi, was expected in the region yesterday in preparation for the killing.
However, as the charge was included in a statement which launched a broad attack on the ANC, including rejection of an accusation that was never made, it is open to question. Lt-Gen Meiring denounced the ANC for saying the South African army's 31st and 32nd Battalions were either deployed on Ciskei's border or incorporated into the homeland's military, and therefore implicated in the bloodbath. The ANC raised questions about the battalions' involvement with Ciskei last month, before Monday's massacre.
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