The special United Nations' representative charged with overseeing an independence settlement for Namibia (south West Africa) has arrived in the territory (6 August) to begin work.
The special United Nations' representative charged with overseeing an independence settlement for Namibia (south West Africa) has arrived in the territory (6 August) to begin work. U.N. Commissioner Martti Ahtisaari of Finland is to make a preliminary survey on implementing the western backed independence proposals.
SYNOPSIS: In Windhoek, the capital of Namibia (South West Africa), ten thousand people turned out for the arrival of Commissioner Ahtisaari. The South African government, which administers the territory in defiance of the United Nations, had previously not allowed a U.N. Representative to go to Windhoek. They invited the Finnish diplomat but reserved the right to reject his report.
Mr. Ahtisaari is to see how the plans for the territory's independence, drawn up by five western nations, will work in practice. The proposals were agreed by south Africa last April. But the Pretoria Government was angered last month by western backing for a Security Council Resolution that the South African enclave of Walvis Bay should be included in an independent Namibia. Mr. Ahtisaari flew in with a team of 48 experts to help him, aboard an American Airforce plane. He was met at the airport at Windhoek by the South African Administrator-General of the Territory, Judge Marthinus Steyn. The two men will work together on the independence preparations if the South Africans accept Mr. Ahtisaari's report.
The two men had their first formal meeting in Windhoek the following day (Monday (7 August). Some people in the territory, and SWAPO, the main nationalist movement, are angry that the South African Government has already started registering electors. Among the topics Judge Steyn and Mr. Ahtisaari have to discuss in the registration of voters for pre-independence elections. SWAPO, the South West Africa Peoples Organisation, has called for a boycott of the present registration because it says it is not being held under United Nations supervision.
Mr. Ahtisaari expects to stay in Namibia for two or three weeks, before going back to New York to report to the United Nations' Secretary-General, Kurt Waldheim. The South African Prime Minister, John Vorster, has said that if his government believes it necessary, it will go ahead with its own independence plan for the territory, even without international approval.