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Britain in Rhodesia dilemma

In trying to carry out the Lancaster House agreements regarding the independence of Rhodesia, Britain is walking on a tightrope, Monitor contributor Louis Wiznitzer reports.

Africans at the UN have warned Britain to "stop supporting Bishop Muzorewa and discriminating against the Patriotic Front or else the liberation struggle will continue." Yet if Robert Mugabe wins the elections, as polls suggest he might, South Africa would not hesitate to intervene to keep him from coming to power, observers here say.

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The Security Council has passed a resolution accusing Britain of permitting South African troops in disguise to remain in Rhodesia and allowing the Muzorewa police forces to go about the country intimidating the voters.

The vote was 14 to 0, with the United States in favor of the resolution. Britain, which did not participate in the vote, considers the resolution unbalanced and selective. Claiming that most violations were being committed by the Mugabe forces, Britain fears that the resolution may be used as an alibi for renewed fighting should Mr. Mugabe be defeated in the elections, which are to take place Feb. 27-29.


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