Negotiating the Freedom of Namibia: The diplomatic achievement of the Western Contact Group

This book gives a precise view on the diplomatic achievement of the Western Contact Group while negotiating the Freedom of Namibia.
Vergau, Hans-Joachim
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Author: Hans-Joachim Vergau
Publisher: Basler Afrika Bibliographien
Basel, 2010
ISBN 978-3-905758-17-7
Softcover, 15x21 cm, 140 pages


At the beginning of 1977, five members of the Security Council caused quite a stir at the United Nations Organisation in New York. France, Great Britain and the USA, plus two non-permanent members, Canada and the Federal Republic of Germany prepared a joint initiative in order to resolve the deadlock over South Africa’s illegal occupation of Namibia.

It gave rise, on the one hand, to the hope that the apartheid regime in Pretoria, which had previously blocked all progress, would accept Namibia’s independence with a democratic constitution based on the rule of law. On the other hand, Namibia’s liberation movement SWAPO had many reasons to distrust the diplomatic process. In this study, the multi-facetted political and diplomatic developments – and dramatic setbacks – are analysed by a key participant in the negotiations.

This book gives a precise view of the long diplomatic struggle to achieve Namibia’s independence through UN activities from the perspective of one of Germany’s most influential diplomats, whose commitment to the cause of independence bridged dangerous periods, including those where the Western powers and even his superiors did not apply the necessary pressure on South Africa until the Apartheid regime itself had started to crumble.