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November 19, 1982



A potential bridge over troubled borders?

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The US hopes a major prisoner-of-war swap in southern Africa this week will prod stalled negotiations for Namibia's independence. The exchange involved the US, South Africa, Angola, the Angolan resistance group UNITA, Cuba, and the Soviet Union. The US hopes the exchange will increase trust between these parties, all of whom have a stake in the talks on Namibia (South-West Africa). Some 94 Angolan soldiers and three Soviet prisoners held by South Africa and UNITA were exchanged for three Americans and the bodies of two South Africans held in Angola. Despite US hopes, many analysts here say the swap may prove of no real diplomatic value.

The parties remain far apart over the issue of Cuban withdrawal from Angola, and many analysts are skeptical the swap will nudge them closer.