Angola says it will send Cuban troops away when S. African threat subsides
United Nations, N.Y. — Angola intends to send Cuban troops packing as soon as its security concerns are met in full. This was the position stated this week by Angolan Foreign Minister Paulo Jorge in an interview with the Monitor.
But so far, Mr. Jorge says, United States negotiators have not presented concrete proposals to the Angolans that address the central Angolan worry: ''Who will protect us, and how, against South African military incursions?''
The issue, he says, also was left unanswered in a meeting this week in New York between himself and US Secretary of State George Shultz.
Mr. Jorge says that despite a year of meetings with American officials the Angolans have received only ''promises, promises.''
Regarding the Cuban troops stationed in Angola, the Luanda government's position as described by Paulo Jorge is:
* The presence of Cuban troops in Angola is no more shocking than the presence of American troops in Germany or of American bases in Turkey and in the Philippines. A sovereign nation that feels threatened has the right to ask a friendly nation to station troops on its territory for defensive purposes.
* Cuban troops (25,000 by Western estimates) threaten none of Angola's neighbors. They are essentially meant to shield Angola from a feared South African military push.
* Luanda, as a token of goodwill, had started sending some Cubans home in 1976 and it was then that South Africa launched a new, devastating raid into Angola.
* Angola is ready to ask Cuba to withdraw its troops ''as soon as South Africa will no longer be in a position to threaten Angola.'' That means once Namibia has become independent and forms a buffer state between South Africa and Angola.
* Various ideas of replacing Cuban troops with French, Portuguese, Brazilian, and African troops have occasionally been talked about. None of them is acceptable to Angola, for a variety of reasons. As long as it feels threatened, Angola will rely only on an ally to look after its security.
* ''Regarding our concern in this area, the Americans have told us mainly that once the Cubans are gone, they will be in a good position to talk South Africa into letting go of Namibia. This is tantamount to asking us to throw ourselves at the mercy of South Africa. It hardly amounts to an ironclad guarantee of our security.''
On UNITA (the main rebel challenge to Angola's rulers) Jorge says, ''It can make life difficult for us, but it is not strong enough to threaten Luanda or even to confront us in a full-scale battle. It represents mainly a particular tribe and gets all its financial and military support from South Africa.''
Angola's economy is in shambles. ''The war imposed on us by South Africa bleeds us. World prices of coffee, oil, diamonds have fallen and further hurt us. We lack foreign currency for crucial imports. There are serious problems in the area of food,'' he admits.