Yet another attempt is to begin next Monday (30 January) to find a settlement for Rhodesia that would be acceptable to African and international opinion.
Yet another attempt is to begin next Monday (30 January) to find a settlement for Rhodesia that would be acceptable to African and international opinion. The British Foreign Secretary, Dr. David Owen, and the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Andrew Young, will have talks in Malta with the two leaders of the Rhodesian Parotic Front, Mr. Joshua Nkomo and Mr. Robert Mugabe. In the meantime, the Rhodesian Prime Minister, Mr. Ian Smith, has been seeking his own solution with black leaders living in Rhodesia, and they are reported to be on the verge of an agreement.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Smith's object in these talks has been to protect the position of the white minority in Rhodesia. He announced last November that, if adequate safeguards were agreed, he was prepared to accept black majority rule.
The question is whether Bishop Abel Muzorewa and his two colleagues who have been taking part in the talks are truly representative of Rhodesia's black majority. The Bishop, who here was conducting a service to commemorate people killed by the Rhodesian security forces on a raid into Mozambique, claims that he has the support of 90 per cent of the black Rhodesians.
Chief Jeremiah Chirau leads the Rhodesian Council of Chiefs. He has been more willing than his fellow negotiators to see the new Zimbabwe army based on the existing white-led security forces: one of the questions still to be settled in the talks with Mr. Smith.
The Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole has said he thinks an internal settlement would be accepted internationally, even if it did not include the Patriotic Front:
But Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Mugabe of the Patriotic Front would have nothing to do with the talks. When they meet Dr. Owen and Mr. Young in Malta, they will discuss how revive the Anglo-American plan worked out last year. This provided for Mr. Smith to step down and a British Resident Commissioner, Lord Carver, to control Rhodesia for six months before elections based on universal suffrage.
The Patriotic Front have the backing of the "Front-line Presidents" -- with Presidents Nyerere of Tanzania, Machel of Mozambique and Kaunda of Zambia the most active and influential.
They also speaks for the guerrilla forces who have been keeping up the pressure for the total overthrow of the Smith regime. More then 70 civilians -- mostly black -- have been killed in guerrilla raids already this year. Mr. Smith has accused Britain of seeking what he called an "unholy alliance" with the Patriotic Front and the guerrillas to discredit any internal agreement.