WASHINGTON — NAMIBIA'S independence plan seems to be ``back on track'' after armed incursions by the main liberation movement there, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Alison Rosenberg told Congress this week. The South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) has ordered its troops back to Angola. US officials say SWAPO did so under pressure from Angola, Cuba, and others, who did not want the broader US-mediated peace arrangments to fall apart.
Another senior official adds privately that, following consultations in the region last week, the Bush administration is ``pretty confident that Angola and Cuba will get SWAPO to completely pull out'' the 1,000 to 2,000 troops it sent into Namibia.
But just in case, there will be UN verification of the withdrawal, as well as a second meeting of the control commission for the overall accord. The accord includes Angola, Cuba, South Africa, the US, and Soviet Union. Angola also seeks a meeting to discuss moving SWAPO forces north of the 16th parallel.
SWAPO fighters are apparently returning to Angola at night, US officials say. The US is urging UN troops to patrol with South African forces in Namibia to monitor the SWAPO departure.
US officials say the Soviet Union has played a constructive role. But the flip side of superpower collaboration, complains a SWAPO supporter is: ``We used to say it was the grass that gets trampled when the elephants fight. Now we see the grass also suffers when the elephants are in love.''