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Namibia talks may end fighting

New diplomatic and military initiatives are under way to bring independence to the disputed territory of Namibia (South West Africa). South Africa and Angola held a second publicized round of talks aimed at establishing a cease-fire along the Angola-Namibia border, Monitor correspondent Paul Van Slambrouck reports. At the same time, South Africa reported a major new offensive into Namibia by the guerrilla forces of the South West African People's Organization.

The timing of the SWAPO offensive has upset the government here, official sources said. In advance of the Angolan talks, South African Foreign Minister Roelof Botha said chances of an accord had been ''attenuated'' by ''recent events'' - referring to the escalating fighting.

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The establishment of some form of cease-fire or demilitarized zone in southern Angola - where SWAPO is based and South African troops regularly patrol - has come to be seen as a possible first step to gaining independence for Namibia. Many veteran observers believe a cease-fire is possible, because it appears to be in the interests of both South Africa and Angola. Angola would regain some control over its own southern territory; South Africa, by stopping the war in northern Namibia, would be in a better position to build a local political coalition to contest SWAPO in an independence election.

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