United Nations Secretary-General, Kurt Waldheim has welcomed France's decision to halt the transfer of four warships to South Africa.
GV: The Corvette, 'Good Hope' docked at quayside, in Lorient Harbour, France
MV: Corvette docked at quayside (F432 on side)
MV: Corvette docked at quayside.
GV: Corvette docked at quayside (long distance bow view)
GV Lorient harbour with Corvette docked at quayside. (in distance)
CU: newspaper headlines (2 shots)
Until last week's Security Council resolution, French policy was to carry out existing contracts. The naval deal was agreed 18 months ago. South Africa has reportedly paid 60 per cent of the cost of the 'Good Hope' and its ambassador in Paris said the ship appears to belong to South Africa already.
But the ambassador said 'everything is open for negotiation' and French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing has said that 'what happens to the ships being built for South Africa will be settled in a manner respecting the resolution' of the Security Council. The 1,170 tonnes 'Good Hope' was due for official delivery next March. France, formerly South Africa's biggest arms supplier, imposed a partial embargo on deliveries two years ago.
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Background: United Nations Secretary-General, Kurt Waldheim has welcomed France's decision to halt the transfer of four warships to South Africa. The French move follows a unanimous decision by the Security Council of the United Nations at a meeting on 4 November to impose a mandatory arms embargo of South Africa. One of the four ships originally destined for South Africa has been placed under armed surveillance at the French Atlantic port of Lorient.
SYNOPSIS: The vessel had already been named the 'Good Hope' and also already flies the South African flag. A Corvette, it was put under guard after a report that its South African crew had tried to beat the arms embargo by sailing it out of Lorient harbour. The French Navy has denied that the 'Good Hope' tried to make a run for the open sea.
Whether the ship attempted to sail or not, it was transferred to Lorient's inner harbour and its exist to the open sea is now blocked by a drawbridge. The incident received wide press coverage and French newspaper headlines like these pointed out that the ship was being kept at Lorient because of the United Nations arms embargo.