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Botha: S. African Troops to Stay in Angola if Cubans Do

March 14, 1988

WASHINGTON (AP) _ South African military forces will not leave Angola unless Cuban troops also depart, according to a report in today’s Washington Times.

The South African forces will remain in Angola until the 40,000-member Cuban force departs, South African President P. W. Botha said in an interview with Arnaud de Borchgrave, Times editor.

In the past, South Africa has said its forces were operating in Angola in order to keep guerrillas out of Namibia, a South African controlled area adjacent to Angola, the article noted.

Angolan officials, meanwhile, have reportedly given the United States a timetable for withdrawl of the Cuban troops, but made that pullout conditional on departure of the South Africans.

Botha told de Borchgrave that he has reasons to believe that the Soviet Union is ready to cut its losses in Africa and is pressuring Cuba to withdraw its forces.

Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev believes his predecessors miscalculated the chances for revolution in Africa, Botha said. Now, he said, the Soviets are anxious to cut down on the high cost of arming and propping up poor nations.

Botha said that he doesn’t think the Soviet Union wants to ″ditch″ Angola, but rather is ″shopping for a compromise.″

If he is a wise man, Botha said of Gorbachev, he will take this opportunity to get out of Southern Africa.

Of the United States, meanwhile, Botha said the U.S. seems to be playing domestic politics with the economic sanctions it has imposed on his country.

The sanctions have thrown thousands of blacks out of work, while forcing his country to become more self-reliant, Botha said. He said the end result is merely for the United States to lose what influence it has in his country.

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