Related topics

Accord Reached on Limited Sanctions Against South Africa RETRANSMITTING a0449 to restore

October 21, 1985

Accord Reached on Limited Sanctions Against South Africa RETRANSMITTING a0449 to restore slugline.

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) _ The 49-nation Commonwealth nudged a reluctant Britain into accepting a a package of limited economic sanctions against South Africa, and threatened to impose more unless the white-minority government dismantles apartheid.

Members of the Commonwealth, consisting of Britain and its former colonies, averted an open split in a last-minute compromise Sunday. They also agreed to send high-level emissaries to South Africa to press the government to free jailed black leaders, end the policy of racial segregation, and negotiate a ″non-racial, representative government.″

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Britain, who fought a lone battle to stop the Commonwealth from imposing economic sanctions, made three concessions but claimed victory.

The agreement calls for a review of South Africa’s progress toward ending apartheid after six months, with possible additional economic measures to follow. But Mrs. Thatcher said she would have no part of tougher sanctions after the six-month deadline.

″Well, they’ve joined me now,″ Mrs. Thatcher told reporters late Sunday after Commonwealth leaders met through the day to work out the agreement.

The accord provided for a nine-point package of immediate sanctions. Most of the measures, such as bans on arms and oil sales, nuclear cooperation and discouraging cultural and scientific contact, have been enforced by many nations for years.

Mrs. Thatcher agreed to three new measures - a possible ban on the import of Krugerrand gold coins, and bans on new government loans to the South African government and its agencies, and on state funding for trade missions.

″It’s a compromise package. It is not all that some people wanted and it’s more than others wanted,″ Prime Minister Brian Mulroney of Canada said at a news conference.

Along with the leaders of India, Australia and Zambia, Mulroney mediated between Mrs. Thatcher and African, Asian and West Indian nations demanding tougher measures.

Commonwealth officials had hoped this week-long summit meeting, which ends Tuesday, would at least impose a ban on airline flights.

But they insisted Mrs. Thatcher had not won with her argument that economic embargos are futile and would hurt most South Africa’s blacks and its black- ruled neighbors.

″It has not been a victory for any point of view ... any one person, no one could say, ‘they joined me’,″ Commonwealth Secretary General Shridath Ramphal told a news conference.

″It’s a victory for the Commonwealth,″ he said, describing the accord as an ″important signal to Pretoria (the South African government).″

The accord called on South Africa to release immediately Nelson Mandela, head of the main black guerrilla movement, the African National Congress.

It also called for the ″suspension of violence on all sides″ during negotiations between black and white South African leaders, the lifting of a ban on the African National Congress and the immediate end of a three-month state of emergency imposed in an attempt to quell black rioting.

South Africa’s 5 million whites control the country’s 24 million blacks and deny them voting rights through the apartheid system.

Mrs. Thatcher, along with the leaders of Zambia, Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, India and Zimbabwe, will decide after six months whether South Africa has made progress toward meeting the demands or whether more sanctions should be imposed.

The accord hedged, saying ″some of us would consider″ eight further measures. These included a ban on air links with South Africa, any new investment or reinvestment of profits, agricultural products, tourism promotion, and an end to reciprocal taxation agreements.

″You would be right to conclude that I am not one of the ‘some’,″ Mrs. Thatcher told reporters.

Ramphal said the group would have to decide ″in a general sense″ whether South Africa had fufilled the Commonwealth demands.

Update hourly