• Short Summary

    South Africa has accepted a Western plan to bring independence to South West Africa (Namibia) by the 31st of December.

  • Description

    CU: South Africa Foreign Minister Pik Botha listening to newsman's question

    CU: Mr Botha replying.

    BOTHA:"You will probably hear a lot about Walvis Bay in the current General Assembly debates in New York. I couldn't care less what noises are made there. Walvis Bay is part of the sovereign territory of the Republic of South Africa, and it is not mentioned in the proposals. And as far as we are concerned, that is the position."

    REPORTER:"You have had contact quite a few times with the Western nations during the past few months or so. In this session you have just mentioned, do you think they will take a strong enough stand to, to defend their proposals, and to get them accepted?"

    BOTHA:" We don't know. That lies in the future. All I can say is that the West informed me that they will back their proposals. They stand behind them. We are going to hold them to that undertaking. We have accepted those proposals, and as far as I'm concerned, this brings to an end the international dispute. Whereas others will probably not agree with me, but this is our point of view: the dispute, 31 years old, which resulted in many proceedings in the international court in justice, hundreds of solutions by the United Nations and its various bodies, Security Council. As a matter of fact, the territory of South Africa formed a confrontation point against South Africa. We don't know. we don't know how things will develop from now onwards, but what we do know is that we have accepted the proposals in good faith. We would like to see them implemented as soon as possible. They're not there to be shelved. We are ready to do so in good faith, and we are going to ask for it very soon."

    REPORTER: "Lastly, finally Mr Botha, I am thinking of South West Africa itself now. What happens there now, and specifically regarding an election date?"

    BOTHA:"Well, we must now wait to see whether the Security Council will accept these proposals.

    It is my understanding that the Security Council will consider this matter immediately after the current General Assembly's special session. And when they meet, they will discuss, they consider it, and either accept the proposals or reject them. We must wait for that. and depending on the outcome of the Security Council, I cannot take the matter further at this stage.

    In Washington, the State Department described South Africa's acceptance of the Western plan as statesmanlike and constructive. From the Finnish capital of Helsinki, British Foreign Minister, Dr David Owen, said the acceptance was "an improvement and an advance". Dr Owen told Reuter he was sure SWAPO would go along with the plan, provided there was no catch. "SWAPO will accept it", he said. At the United Nations, the five Western members of the Security Council welcomed South Africa's acceptance of their proposals. Canadian External Affairs Minister Donald Jamieson said:"We do not propose to comment on it at this stage, except to welcome this important development in the position of one of the main parties concerned." The black Nationalists fighting a guerrilla war in South West Africa have yet to accept the plan drawn up by the Western nations.

    Initials RH/0130


    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: South Africa has accepted a Western plan to bring independence to South West Africa (Namibia) by the 31st of December. The decision was announced by South African Prime Minister John Vorster in Cape Town on Tuesday (25 April). The plan, put forward by the United States, Britain, France, West Germany and Canada, envisages United Nations - supervised elections and a phased withdrawal of the 20,000 South African troops now in the territory. The five Western nations have been negotiating for a year to try to arrange a peaceful settlement between South Africa and the Black nationalists of the South West African People's Organisation(SWAPO). One million people live in South West Africa(Namibia), which is a former German colony, ruled by South Africa under a disputed mandate from the defunct League of Nations. About 100,000, or one tenth, are whites. Now that South Africa has said 'Yes', it remains for the West to win support from the bulk of United Nations members and from SWAPO for its plan.

    SYNOPSIS: After South Africa's acceptance, Foreign Minister Pik Botha was asked about the strategic port enclave of Walvis Bay.

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