Angolan border cease-fire pushed
Johannesburg — Talks between South Africa and Angola are progressing toward some form of cease-fire along the border of Namibia (South-West Africa), but no agreement has yet been reached, according to reliable sources here.
These sources, Monitor correspondent Paul Van Slambrouck reports, were reacting to reports that a temporary cease-fire for two months beginning Feb. 1 had been agreed to by the two countries -- a report the sources called ''very premature.''
South African and Angolan officials have been expected to meet shortly for a second round of high-level discussions, following the first such gathering in December in the Cape Verde Islands.
The talks are one of the most hopeful sign analysts see for the achievement of a settlement bringing independence to Namibia. Under the Reagan administration, US negotiators have made the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola a necessary part of any settlement in Namibia. And that is why direct talks between South Africa and Angola have become increasingly important in securing a settlement.
But there are other indications that a settlement in Namibia will not be achieved soon. Control of the territory recently reverted to direct administration by South Africa after the internal maltiracial political alliance that had acted as the local government since 1977 collapsed.
Pretoria had hoped once that the alliance could gain enough support to defeat the insurgent South-West African People's Organization at the polls. But that hope has been dashed, and South Africa at the moment has no credible alternative to contest SWAPO in the event of an election. Most analysts do not expect South Africa to go into an election until it has developed some viable candidate of its own.