Peace Conference Will Consider Angola and South-West Africa
LONDON (AP) _ A conference next week will bring the United States, Angola, Cuba and South Africa together for the first time to discuss troop withdrawals from Angola and independence for South-West Africa, the government said Friday.
The conference, to be held Tuesday and Wednesday at a secret London location, follows intense diplomatic activity aimed at ending the 13-year-old Angolan civil war and achieving independence for neighboring South-West Africa, also known as Namibia, which is controlled by by South Africa.
Announcement of the talks by the Foreign Office followed a meeting Friday between Anatoly Adamishin, a Soviet deputy foreign minister, and Chester Crocker, U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs.
U.S. officials said Crocker would lead the U.S. delegation to the talks but the delegates of the other nations were not identified. A statement from South Africa’s Foreign Ministry said none of its representatives would have Cabinet rank.
Adamishin told a news conference the Soviet Union, although not a participant at the meeting, supports the ″political dynamism″ that led to the new attempt at a political settlement in southern Africa.
The United States seeks a timetable for withdrawal of the 40,000 Cuban military personnel in Angola. Angola and the Soviet Union want South Africa to withdraw its forces from Namibia and comply with a 1966 United Nations demand to give it independence.
Angola’s Marxist government, with Cuban help and Soviet backing, is fighting rebels of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, or UNITA, which is supported by South Africa and the United States.
Previous efforts at a settlement have stalled, in part because of U.S. support for South Africa’s demand that the Cuban troops leave before it gives independence to Namibia.
South Africa captured the mineral-rich territory from Germany in World War I and controls it under a League of Nations mandate abrogated by the United Nations in 1966. The South-West Africa People’s Organization, which has bases in southern Angola, is fighting a guerrilla war for independence for the territory.
The Angolan government has refused to talk directly with UNITA and the rebels are not included in the London conference. Adamishin said the Soviets and Angolans consider UNITA ″like an arm of South Africa.″
In its statement announcing the meeting, the Foreign Office said: ″Discussions between the United States, Angola, South Africa and Cuba, on troop withdrawal from Angola and independence for Namibia, will take place on May 3 and 4 in Britain.
″We are pleased to have facilitated and welcome this further step in the negotiating process.″
In Cape Town, South Africa, Foreign Minister R. F. Botha said: ″As far as South Africa is concerned, the talks are going to be about Cuban withdrawal from Angola and it will be useful if representatives of the Cuban government could be present.″ He did not elaborate.
Botha said the talks could collapse if Angola seeks implementation of a U.N. resolution condemning South Africa for having troops in southern Angola. In December, the U.N. Security Council voted to demand withdrawal of South African troops.
Angola claims South Africa has 9,000 soldiers with heavy artillery on its territory but South Africa says it has not had more than 3,000 men there at one time since May 1987.