Ministers from five Western powers began talks with South Africa on Monday (October 16) in an effort to break the deadlock over independence proposals for South West Africa/Namibia.
Ministers from five Western powers began talks with South Africa on Monday (October 16) in an effort to break the deadlock over independence proposals for South West Africa/Namibia. The United Nations plan for an internationally-supervised ballot next April has been thwarted by South Africa's unilateral decision to hold elections in the territory in December. South West Africa is a former German colony administered by South Africa under an old League on Nations mandate. The United Nations voted to revoke the mandate in 1966 but Pretoria has refused to recognise that action.
SYNOPSIS: South African Foreign Minister Pik Botha welcomed British Foreign Secretary Mr. David Owen, and other Western ministers to Pretoria for the latest talks. Deputy Foreign Minister Olivier Stirn represented France, and the West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich-Genscher also attended. United States Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and Dr. Owen have spearheaded the Western iniative in an unprecedented show of strength over Namibia. Supported by Canadian Foreign Minister Donald Jamieson and their two European colleagues, they are trying to persuade South Africa to accept the United Nations plan for independence. Soon after the talks started, a news blackout adopted at the successful Camp David Middle East peace talks last month.
Pretoria's Union Buildings are the venue of the talks. Before the main session with Mr. Pik Botha, the Western ministers met South Africa's Prime Minister, Pieter Botha, for two hours. But the new leader is a reputed hard-liner and observers thought it unlikely he would change his mind.
Earlier, the ministers gathered at the United States Embassy to discuss the strategy they would adopt. There is heavy pressure at the United Nations for sanctions against South Africa, but Western sources said the ministers would not raise that question initially in the talks.