LONDON -- South African Prime Minister Pieter Botha met with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Saturday in the first visit to Britain by a South African leader in 23 years. More than 15,000 anti-apartheid protesters demonstrated in London's streets.
The protest, the largest demonstration against South Africa's racist policies ever staged in Britain, was 'peaceful and orderly,' authorities said.
Apartheid policicies in Namibia and South Africa were the main topics of the talks, described by British officials as 'comprehensive and candid.' Botha is on a European tour to improve the image of his white minority-ruled government.
It was the first trip to Britain by a South African prime minister since 1961 when South Africa broke from the British Commonwealth because of apartheid.
British officials stressed the visit did not amount to a change of mind by Britain, which opposes South Africa's internal policies.
Mrs. Thatcher told Botha that it was 'unacceptable that a person's rights should depend upon the color of their skin,' a government spokesman said.
'The prime minister made quite clear Britain's views on the situation in South Africa' and also took the opportunity 'to press for positive change in the region as a whole,' said Malcolm Rifkind, a junior foreign office minister.
Botha saw nothing of the demonstration by 15,000. He was whisked by helicopter from Heathrow Airport to Chequers, Mrs. Thatcher's official country mansion some 40 miles northwest of London, where the two spent five hours in talks.
Botha then flew back to Heathrow and left for Switzerland.
'Both sides expressed their solemn desire to help Namibia achieve its independence as soon as possible under peaceful conditions. It is essential not only for Namibia but for the peace and stability of the region as a whole,' Botha told reporters.
'We also considered it of the highest importance that all foreign forces should be withdrawn from the area without delay so that the peoples of the countries concerned can settle their own destinies without interference.'
The United States has said the 20,000 Cuban troops based in Angola must be withdrawn if there is to be a settlement in South West Africa, also known as Namibia, which is held by South Africa in violation of a United Nations resolution.