HC Deb 30 April 1975 vol 891 cc450-1
6. Mr. Hooley

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the United Nations High Commissioner for Namibia and the leaders of SWAPO.

Miss Joan Lestor

We keep in touch with leaders of SWAPO and, as my right hon. Friend the Minister for Overseas Development announced on 28th April, we are giving them educational aid. Mr. McBride last called on me on 17th April.

Mr. Hooley

Is my hon. Friend aware that I very much welcome the statement made a few minutes ago by her hon. Friend the Minister of State that the United States, France and the United Kingdom have made representations to the South African Government on Namibia? What representations have been made about the intimidation and victimisation of the Ovambo people in Namibia during the recent elections, and what further initiative do the Government propose to take if South Africa does not comply with the deadline of 31st May set by the Security Council for giving up the administration of Namibia?

Miss Lestor

In reply to the first part of the supplementary question, SWAPO gave me a detailed memorandum alleging certain restrictions and making other allegations about what took place at the time of the elections. I am still studying that memorandum and I am not in a position to say which of those allegations are true and which are false, but the memorandum is a very detailed one. I am not in a position to comment on what is likely to happen if South Africa does not observe the deadline until the deadline has been reached and the position is or is not changed. As my hon. Friend said, pressures are being put on South Africa to meet the deadline.

Mr. Wall

Will the Minister confirm that Namibia consists of a number of potentially hostile groupings, the one thing that unites them being the fear of domination by the Ovambo, who represent nearly 50 per cent. of the population, and that SWAPO is Ovambo-based and should not therefore be regarded as the voice of united Namibia?

Miss Lestor

I have always been and remain prepared to meet any people who claim that they are speaking for minorities or any other groupings in Namibia. I constantly meet the leaders of SWAPO and am always prepared to do so, but I do not regard any particular grouping as sole representatives of the Namibian people. I do not hold the view that the people are split in the way the hon. Gentleman described.

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