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Volume 15: debated on Wednesday 16 December 1981

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asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he has received any indication from the South-West Africa People's Organisation and the front-line States that the new constitutional proposals on Namibia will be acceptable to them.

The Five have received initial reactions to their proposals for constitutional principles from SWAPO and the front-line States. The details of these are confidential, but the Foreign Ministers of the Five noted in their communiqué of 10 December, a copy of which I am circulating in the Official Report, that the ground was now prepared for achieving final agreement on the principles without delay.

Does the Minister agree that SWAPO and the front-line States have bent over backwards to be co-operative and helpful in the Contact Group? That cannot be said about South Africa. What evidence does the Minister have that South Africa is negotiating in good faith?

Judging from the reactions to the consultations on the first stage of the constitutional principles, there has been a helpful and positive attitude by all parties and that has enabled the Group of Five to make substantial progress. We hope to move on to the second stage as soon as possible.

Following is the communiqué:
The Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States of America met in Brussels on December 10 1981 to assess the progress made towards the early independence of Namibia in accordance with Security Council resolution 435.
They were encouraged by the constructive results of the recent senior officials' mission of the Five to Africa. They noted that the ground is now prepared for achieving final agreement on constitutional principles without delay and decided that appropriate contacts promoting such early agreement will be initiated immediately.
The Ministers reviewed the extensive work done by officials of the Contact Group in meetings from December 1 to 8, 1981 in Washington and Ottawa on proposals concerning the remaining issues to be resolved in the next phase—the practical establishment of UNTAG in Namibia and assurances that the transitional process will be carried out in an impartial manner.
The Ministers reiterated the firm commitment of their Governments to continued co-operation with the parties concerned and to vigorous action in the search for a peaceful settlement in Namibia, which they see as essential for the stability of Southern Africa. They hope that agreement of all concerned can be reached at the earliest possible date thus opening the way for implementation of SCR 435 in 1982.