NASSAU, Bahamas Commonwealth leaders agreed late Sunday to implement mild economic sanctions against South Africa, and set up 2 delegations to try to persuade the white minority government to negotiate with black leaders to end apart held.
British Prime Minister Margret Thatcher, whose refusal to apply economic sanctions brought the summit of Britain and its former colonies near to an open split treated the compromise as a victory.
“Well, they’ve joined me now,” she said, referring to the fact that of the nine measures the 49nation group agreed to impose immediately, only one had not already been implemented by Mrs. Thatcher a possible ban on the importation of Kruger and gold coins.
“Aren’t they tiny?” she said of the sanctions package. In any event, “It was worth paying some price to keep the commonwealth together,” she said. “It was hard going.”
Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who helped mediate private talks between Mrs. Thatcher and leaders who wanted an economic blockade of South Africa, said, “It’s a compromise package. It’s not all that some people wanted and it’s more than others wanted.”
Mulroney said the package will “send a clear signal to Pretoria” that it must move faster to end the racial apartheid system.
The agreement stipulated that the heads of government of Britian, Zambia, Australia, India and the Bhamas will help set up the contact group. The group’s members were not disclosed.
“I would hope the people in Pretoria will receive the group,” Mrs. Thatcher said. “It goes with a wish to be constructive a wish to do what we can do to help.”
The agreement gave South Africa six months to “bring about concrete progress” or face tougher sanctions, including a ban on airline flights. At a late-night news conference, however, Mrs. Thatcher said she will refuse to impose any new sanctions.
The accord called on the South African government to free jailed black leader Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners, end a three-month state of emergency, and lift its ban on the African National Congress guerrilla movement.
The sanctions include bans on new government loans; on state funding of trade missions; on computer sales to the security forces; on oil, nuclear and military cooperation; and possibly on importation of the Kruger and coin.
Article extracted from this publication >> October 25, 1985