The question of whether Namibia (South-West Africa) will become independent in the foreseeable future will go unanswered for at least a few more months, Monitor correspondent Paul Van Slambrouck reports.
South African Prime Minister Pieter W. Botha extended the term of office of the territory's internal government, which expired Nov. 21, until next February. Mr. Botha's announcement was in part an admission of the chaotic state of political affairs in Namibia. If Western efforts to hold elections for an independent government in Namibia do not bear fruit by then, South Africa will likely go ahead with plans for local elections to set up a new internal administration under its control.
Putting off internal elections for three months is seen by analysts here as a deliberate show of ''good faith'' by South Africa in the US-led settlement negotiations, particularly on the eve of a visit to Washington by South African Minister of Foreign Affairs Roelof Botha this week (Nov. 24). But Pretoria's commitment to setting up a new internal government early next year also raises doubts about Namibia becoming independent soon and puts increased pressure on the negotiations, the analysts add.
Meanwhile, black African states have become sharply critical of the US approach to a Namibia settlement. American Vice-President George Bush returns early this week from an African tour marked by hardening opposition among African leaders to the US and South African demand that a Cuban withdrawal from Angola be part of a Namibia settlement.
The United States insists negotiations toward Namibia's independence are making progress, despite the apparent logjam over the issue of Cuban withdrawal.