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South-West Africa

Volume 984: debated on Wednesday 14 May 1980

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asked the Lord Privy Seal if he intends to meet the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Zimbabwe in the near future to discuss South-West Africa.

Will my right hon. Friend accept that I am somewhat disappointed with that reply? Does my right hon. Friend agree that what happens in Zimbabwe, as we now call it, in the immediate future and the attitude of Mr Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwe Government, will have a great bearing on evolutionary changes in the remainder of Southern Africa? Does he further agree that it would be wrong at this time to put undue pressure on South Africa and the Administrator-General in South-West Africa which may be counter-productive in bringing forth a more democratic Government, which is the objective of the Administrator-General, who is doing so much good at present?

I entirely agree that the attitude and the behaviour of the Zimbabwe Government are of the utmost importance in Southern Africa. However, that is a matter for the Zimbabwe and South African Governments. I entirely agree with the second part of my hon. Friend's question. I do not believe that this is an occasion for undue pressure. As my hon. Friend knows, we are working for a general agreement.

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that, now that we have a democratically elected Government in Zimbabwe, we should seek their co-operation to end the illegal occupation by South Africa of this territory known as Namibia? Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that the United Nations for many years has called for it to be given independence and a democratic Government?

The procedures begun under the previous Government whereby the Five and the secretary-general negotiate and act with South Africa, are being continued. As I said, no doubt developments in Zimbabwe will have had a beneficial effect.

Is the Lord Privy Seal aware that the successful momentum achieved by the ultimately peaceful settlement in Zimbabwe should be carried forward to solving a similar problem in Namibia by the same combination of internationally supervised elections, as proposed by the United Nations? Will the right hon. Gentleman accept that there is a danger that the momentum will be lost? What is the state of play on the negotiations between the contact Five and the South African Government with regard to Namibia?

We do not want the matter to come to a standstill, but equally we do not want it to be rushed. The hon. Gentleman will be aware that the South African reply was received in London only yesterday. It requires a great deal of consideration, and I am reluctant to comment on it now.