UN vote could resurrect SA talks

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The Independent Online
JOHANNESBURG (AP) - A United Nations vote to send a special envoy to South Africa could mean talks between the African National Congress and the white government will be resumed, a leading black newspaper said yesterday.

The New Nation, which has very close ties with the ANC, said talks could start in weeks and would focus on ways to end the violence in black townships that has claimed thousands of lives. New Nation's assessment came after the UN Security Council on Thursday agreed to send an envoy to recommend ways to end the violence and restore negotiations on multi-party democracy.

The council unanimously adopted a resolution requesting the UN Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, to appoint urgently a special representative to make a fact-finding visit and report back about what the council can do to help.

The ANC pulled out of talks with the government on a new constitution last month to protest over the killing at Boipatong township of at least 40 people. ANC leaders claimed the government was not acting to halt the violence and was not negotiating in good faith on ending white minority rule.

The ruling National Party said yesterday it welcomed the UN's involvement. The party's spokesman, B Geldenhuys, said the party was confident the UN envoy would find that accusations of government complicity in the violence were unjustified.

The UN decision was seen as a chance to revive the talks. ANC leaders can present the decision as a victory to their followers, justifying their return to talks.

ANC and trade union leaders were still considering plans for a general strike and protests next month, to force President F W de Klerk to agree to an interim government by the end of the year.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions, a close ANC ally, said it would only cancel the protest plans if the government agreed to an interim administration by the end of the year.

The UN resolution urged South African authorities to take immediate steps to end the violence and punish the guilty parties. It called on all parties to co-operate in combating violence and in implementing a national peace accord.

Mr Mandela, who was at the UN, called the two-day meeting 'very positive and fruitful'. He said the resolution accommodated all of the points sought by the ANC, especially a fact-finding mission.

TOKOZA - A South African army unit accused of brutality against black activists quietly left Tokoza township, near Johannesburg, almost 36 hours after a deadline set by President de Klerk, residents said yesterday, Reuter reports.

Tokoza residents - who had planned to demonstrate against the unit as it left - said they spotted some members of 32 Battalion in an armoured vehicle driving out of the township under cover of darkness.

(Photograph omitted)