The last major obstacle to signing a peace agreement for Zimbabwe Rhodesia has been overcome.?
SV INTERIOR Patriotic Front leader Joshua Nkomo, seated with Visnews' John Darby and speaking in English
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ.1: DARBY: "What finally made Patriotic Front agreement possible, Mr Nkomo?"
NKOMO: "I obtained assurances from Lord Carrington ini the areas that concerned us most, and the most important really was that of the disposition of troops. You will remember that in his statement Lord Carrington had given a number of places for the Patriotic Front and not for the Salisbury army. So we were concerned, and it had to be a real big push to get Lord Carrington to say the disposition of troops as well as the location and numbers of locations will be discussed in the details of implementation. That was vital. Then came the position of the Air Force. We felt that the Air Force, unlike other weapons, is manoeuvrable. It is important that we are certain that the Air Force will not be used by the Salisbury people at the slightest provocation, so we have been given this assurance by Lord Carrington. Then came the position of South Africa. The South African thing is two-fold. One, there are those troops which have been in the country for quite some time. Then there was the coming in of thousands of South African troops at the time we were discussing a cease-fire, and at the time we were talking of disengagement of South Africans were engaging with their forces. So we were very concerned. So Lord Carrington has given some assurance, but we are still very unhappy in that a number of them might melt into the local people and it would be very difficult to identify them. These are the assurances."
DARBY: "So when can we expect an agreement to be signed?"
NKOMO: "I do not know. You know you cannot guess these things. But if things went smoothly I think by the end of next week we should sign."
DARBY: "And the cease-fire?"
NKOMO: "And cease-fire should be days from that because you have to give some days for the people to be back at base. They have to be back at base in order to give orders to our commanders to effect the cease-fire."
REPORTER: JOHN DARBY
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The last major obstacle to signing a peace agreement for Zimbabwe Rhodesia has been overcome. The parties to be protracted talks in London agreed on proposals for a cease-fire (Wednesday 5 December). But there could be another week of talks before the peace agreement is finally signed. Patriotic Front leader mr Joshua Nkomo says his major objections to the cease-fire plan were dispelled by the British Foreign Minister Lord Carrington. Mr Nkomo spoke to Visnews' John Darby.