The nine-week-old Zimbabwe Rhodesia peace conference has reached a crucial stage with the Patriotic Front guerrilla leaders still objecting to vital parts of a British plan to give the rebel colony legal independence following new elections.
CU Chairman of Zimbabwe Rhodesia talks Lord Carrington speaking to reporter;
CU Co-leader of Patriotic Front Joshua Nkomo speaking to reporter
CARRINGTON: "Well, they've got to accept the proposals which we've put forward. We are still discussing them, but in effect the Bishop has agreed to them. We are very much interested in it because we, I think, have been rather courageous in saying we will be responsible for the government in the country in the interim period. And we have said what we're prepared to do and I think the Patriotic Front have now got to come along with those of us and say they're prepared to accept it."
REPORTER: "You think two months of interim administration will be enough ...?"
CARRINGTON: "Oh yes, good heavens, mean everybody's known there was going to be a constitutional conference ever since the beginning of August. So everybody's been making their preparations. It isn't as if Mr. Mugabe, or Mr. Nkomo, or Bishop Muzorewa of Mr. Sithole are unknown in Rhodesia. They've been talking and fighting for the last fourteen years. And I would have thought two months for an election campaign was plenty long enough. And what worries me is that in the period of two months it will be very difficult to keep the ceasefire which will be very fragile in the nature of things. So yes I do -- I think it's quite long enough."
NKOMO: "If you talk of two months, in fact you are asking for an explosion, because in six months you would not have taken the word around all the forces that are around the country. I mean the Patriotic Front forces around the country. You cannot tell them by radio or by pamphlets, so much has been done before which was not, in fact was a hoax. Now they will need to be talked to and explained to by their commanders. And this will take some time. This is necessary because you must have peace during the election. Complete peace. You cannot get out an election in a state of war. And apart from that the Patriotic Front has got to change its machinery from that of war to that of election. It does take time to do that."
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Background: The nine-week-old Zimbabwe Rhodesia peace conference has reached a crucial stage with the Patriotic Front guerrilla leaders still objecting to vital parts of a British plan to give the rebel colony legal independence following new elections. But Britain's Lord Carrington -- the chairman of the talks is holding firm on the proposed two month transitional period. Mr. Nkomo speaking for the Patriotic Front says it will take at least six months to inform his men still fighting in the bush, and to turn the Front from a mainly military to a political party able to effectively fight the elections.