At the United Nations, the Security Council decided on Friday (29 September) to set up a major UN operation to prepare South West Africa for independence.
GV ZOOM INTO SV UN Security Council president, Ilya Hulinsky, puts motion to members.
SV PAN Delegates voting. (2 SHOTS)
SV United States Secretary of State Cyrus Vance speaking.
SV British Foreign Secretary David Owen speaking.
SV Canadian Foreign Secretary Donald Jamieson speaking.
VANCE: "I should like to make clear the position of my government in light of these developments. First: we give our unreserved support to the Secretary General's report and his clarifying introductory statement, made this afternoon. They constitute a practical plan, which is consistent with the proposal which had been worked out by the five governments with all parties concerned. Second: it will be essential that the United Nations transition assistance group, when it is established, functions with efficiency, and impartiality, and with fidelity to the overall objective of the early independence of Namibia through free and fair elections. Assuming all obstacles to implementation to this proposal can be achieved, these elections in Namibia would take place by the end of April 1979."
OWEN: "We all know that composition of the force is also a serious issue, a sensitive issue. The Secretary General has made clear that the composition of UNTAG will be based on consultations with all the parties. He has started his consultations, but has made no commitments to anyone. As I know myself, my government has offered some eighty specialised communications experts from the British Army; but it is for the Secretary General to decide if he requires them; and he has certainly not told us et whether he does or not. There has always, in the past, been an acceptable composition between the parties in all UN peacekeeping. And anyone worried about the Secretary General's ability to square divergent viewpoints should look st the skilful way in which the United Nations has been able to provide effective and flexible peace-keeping forces in areas as diverse as the Middle East, Cyprus and the Lebanon. I have no doubt that the composition will be resolved satisfactorily."
JAMIESON: "The government of South Africa has let it be known that it could not agree to the Secretary General's report in the form in which it was communicated to Pretoria prior to its formal presentation here today. South Africa also indicated that it would unilaterally organise the elections in the territory for the alleged purpose of ascertaining the view of the local inhabitants. As I made clear in my statement in the General Assembly, to follow such a course of action would be extremely short-sighted, and the consequence of such disregard for the views of the international community could be very serious. I therefore renew my call upon the government of South Africa, and those in Namibia who are inclined to support this mistaken course of action, to reconsider their decision."
South Africa recently re-affirmed its acceptance of last April's basic plan, but objected to Dr. Waldheim's terms for carrying it out. They especially did not like the size of the proposed military component (7,500 men), the proposed civilian police (360 men), and postponing elections for several months. To answer these reservations, Dr. Waldheim told the Security Council before the vote on Friday (29 September) that the figure of 7,500 was the upper limit of the force's strength; that it would be brought in gradually; and its composition would be negotiated. Civilian police would be needed, he said, to monitor South African police, who would have the main responsibility of maintaining law and order. The South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO) has demanded that voter registrations which South Africa had done be scrapped, and replaced with registrations organised by the UN. Dr. Waldheim said the UN would satisfy itself that lists had been fairly drawn. up.
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Background: At the United Nations, the Security Council decided on Friday (29 September) to set up a major UN operation to prepare South West Africa for independence. This decision ignores earlier objections from the administering authority, South Africa whose outgoing Prime Minister, Mr. John Vorster, last week announced his government would go ahead with unilateral arrangements for elections in Namibia. However, Mr. Vorster's successor, Mr. Pieter Botha, said on Thursday (28 September) the 'door was still open'. Last April, South Africa had accepted a plan that five western powers of the United Nations had drawn up, calling for elections supervised by the UN. The latest resolution requested the UN Secretary General, Dr. Kurt Waldheim, to report back on 23 October, advising of progress in implementing it.
SYNOPSIS: The president of the Security Council, Mr. Ilya Hulinsky, of Czechoslovakia, puts the motion to council members. Sponsors were Canada, France, West Germany, Gabon, Mauritius, Nigeria, Britain and the United States - a rare occasion when western powers and African states jointly sponsored a resolution.
Major statements supporting the resolution came from the United States Secretary of State, Mr. Cyrus Vance; The British Foreign Minister, Dr. David Owen; and Canadian Foreign Minister Donald Jamieson. First, Mr. Vance.