Africans go to Security Council as Namibia talks reach stalemate
United Nations, N.Y.
Five years of negotiations on the independence of Namibia (South-West Africa) has led to yet another diplomatic stalemate. Secret talks between Angolan and United States officials on a negotiated withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola and of South African troops from neighboring Namibia have been unproductive.
Now, in sheer frustration, African countries are taking their case next week to the Security Council where, according to reliable sources, they expect that:
* Linkage between Namibian independence and the withdrawal of Cuban troops in Angola will be rejected.
* South Africa will be put on notice that it must comply with UN Resolution 435 and give up its illegal occupation of Namibia forthwith.
US diplomats, who a few months ago voiced optimism on their talks with Angola , admit that the prospects for a deal have dimmed. ''Diplomatic battle lines have hardened recently,'' says one US diplomat.
French and Canadian last-ditch efforts to work out a package deal behind the scenes are believed to be continuing. But well-informed diplomats here are convinced these efforts will go nowhere.
During his trip to South Africa in August, UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar ironed out virtually all remaining differences between South Africa and the so-called front-line states (Tanzania, Botzwana, Mozambique, Zambia, Angola, and Zimbabwe) on implementation of the UN plan for Namibia, such as the size and composition of the UN force that would oversee elections in a newly independent Namibia and the electoral procedures themselves.
In his report he noted, however, that South Africa made the departure of Cuban troops from Angola a precondition for the implementation of the UN plan. He said he could not accept this linkage.
Though the linkage issue is officially brought forth by South Africa, many consider it to really be a ''US baby.'' It was William Clark, who was then deputy secretary of state, and Chester Crocker, assistant secretary of state for African affairs, who first mentioned this idea during a trip to Pretoria in June 1981.
''The US, by dealing with the Namibian problem from a purely East-West global prospective, is even more than South Africa blocking progress on this issue.'' says a Western diplomat.
Indeed, privately, African diplomats hold both US and South Africa responsible for the present stalemate. But the Africans do not intend to publicly denounce the US ''mainly because we have not given up on it and we still hope that the Reagan administration will realize that its interests in Africa are not best served by blindly supporting South Africa,'' says one African ambassador.