HC Deb 15 June 1977 vol 933 cc373-5
17. Mr. Hooley

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will propose in the Security Council that a firm date be fixed by the Security Council for the termination of South Africa's illegal occupation of Namibia, and that Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter be invoked if South Africa does not comply.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Edward Rowlands)

The five Western members of the Security Council are engaged in an initiative to secure the earliest possible independence for Namibia. We believe considerable progress has been made. The timing of South Africa's withdrawal is naturally one of the topics under con-sideration.

Mr. Hooley

It is useful that the South African Government have abandoned the Turnhalle proposals, and this is a step in the right direction, but does my hon. Friend accept that the patience of the African countries is not infinite? Does he further agree that unless the Western world shows a greater sense of urgency in this matter we shall have a situation as dangerous in Namibia as we have in Central Africa?

Mr. Rowlands

I agree entirely with my hon. Friend's comment on the patience of the African countries—and the patience of the international community as a whole is not infinite. We are moving with urgency and speed towards trying to find the best possible solution to the situation in Namibia and the earliest possible independence for the country.

Mr. Rifkind

To what extent are there suggestions from the South African Government that they are willing that any elections in Namibia may be supervised by the five Western Powers instead of by the United Nations?

Mr. Rowlands

There has been considerable agreement about the United Nations involvement in the elections for a constituent assembly. That is one of the most important steps forward, as it accords very much with the intrinsic criteria laid down in Security Council Resolution No. 385, on which the Western Powers have been making their demands to South Africa.

Mr. MacFarquhar

What is my hon. Friend's reaction to Dr. Kaunda's proposal that, rather than take the problems of Southern Africa separately, we should take an attitude that views the whole of the Southern African problems, in South Africa, Namibia and Rhodesia?

Mr. Rowlands

We accept that there is a great inter-relationship between all three problems, but there are special features of each of the problems, as anyone who studies the situation that we face in Rhodesia, or the efforts that we are now making in Namibia, will know. There is an inter-relationship, but every problem relating to Southern Africa has to be the subject of individual efforts.

Mr. Wall

Will the Minister bear in mind that South Africa subsidises this territory to the tune of 200 million rand a year, and that if South Africa removed its military forces the MPLA and the Cubans would walk in tomorrow?

Mr. Rowlands

The security of independent and free Namibia is a major issue that is concerning us. I am sure that the South African Government will bring to attention their support to Namibia, and that the international community can also do a lot to help Namibia when it achieves independence.

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