Negotiations on the future of South West Africa -- also known as Namibia -- have come to a halt after South Africa's rejections of three key elements in the independence plans.
SV Mr. Pik Botha, South African Foreign Minister, speaking in English to newsmen
PIK BOTHA: "There's no question about it, the date and the time-scale now present problems. There isn't seven months left over -- even if the Security Council should today accept the plan and all other parties accept it, and we get therefore to the stage - the kickoff stage. Now hose fault is this? South Africa accepted the proposals on 25 April, which left eight months for a job which was envisaged for seven months -- more than sufficient time. Secondly, the date of 31 December 1978 was put as a target date more than two years ago. The United Nations, as you all know, who are dealing with the United Nations -- and go and check the records -- have urged my Government now for ten years almost to grant immediately independence to the territory. Immediately,' they said, 'transfer power must be effected urgently'. The concept of...stress was on 'immediate, urgent'. Now that my Government is ready to do that on the basis of one man, one vote; the removal of discrimination; the territory to receive independence as an entity; no fragmentation, no bantustans; a mechanism has been agreed upon for the release of political detainees....now that we are ready to do all this, now we are told: 'No, your people are not ready.'"
South Africa rules Namibia under a mandate from the League of Nations which the United nations terminated twelve years ago, a decision the South African called illegal. The current independence plans were prepared by the five Western members of the Security Council, and Mr. Botha has accused them of going out of their way to accommodate "radical' leftists and Marxists", while reneging on solemn assurances given to South Africa. In a twenty-page letter to Mr. Waldheim before leaving New York, Mr. Botha demanded an unequivocal written response from the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) on whether it accepted the Namibia independence settlement approved by the Security council.
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Background: Negotiations on the future of South West Africa -- also known as Namibia -- have come to a halt after South Africa's rejections of three key elements in the independence plans. South African Foreign Minister Pik Botha cut short his visit to New York after acknowledging a crisis in the talks, and flew home on Wednesday (6 September) to-consult Cabinet colleagues. Earlier, he had told the United Nations Secretary-General, Kurt Waldheim, that South Africa could not agree to the dispatch of seven thousand five hundred U.N. troops to Namibia, nor to the plan to add three hundred and sixty U.N. civilian police. He also protested at Mr. Waldheim's suggestion that the election of a Namibian constituent assembly could not take place for at least seven months, thereby ruling out a December 31 independence date. Before leaving New York, Mr. Botha spoke to newsmen about the state of negotiations: