INTRODUCTION: The opposing sides in the 15 year old conflict over the control of Namibia have come face to face at the negotiating table for the first time at a special United Nations conference in Geneva.
SV PAN ACROSS Delegates in Geneva conference room with observers looking on (2 shots)
GV ZOOM INTO SV U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim with U.N. delegation at table
CU SWAPO leader Sam Nujoma at another table
GV PAN ACROSS Namibia delegation at table (2 shots)
SV PAN ACROSS SWAPO delegation and CU SWAPO leader Sam Nujoma
SCU SWAPO spokesman Theo Ben Gurirab speaking at news conference in English
SPEECH ON FILM (TRANSCRIPT)
GURIRAB: (SEQ. 6) "We are serious about our responsibility as leaders of the Namibian people and that we have come here with a delegation led by our President. That goes to show the importance that we attach to this meeting. And the reason why we insist that we should talk only directly with the South African delegation is that the pre-condition to the holding of free and fair elections in Namibia is the ending of the war. We must bring the war to an end. And the two parties that are engaged in that war are South Africa on the one hand and SWAPO on the other. And if everybody present at the meeting is as serious as we are, then we should focus on that. Let us bring the war to an end. Let us seriously concentrate on agreement on dates for a ceasefire and implacement of UNTAT and let us proceed to end the suffering of the Namibian people.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The opposing sides in the 15 year old conflict over the control of Namibia have come face to face at the negotiating table for the first time at a special United Nations conference in Geneva. The week-long meeting at the U.N.'s European headquarters is aimed at reaching an agreed timetable for independence in Namibia, followed by free elections. But the first aim of the conference is to set a date for a ceasefire between South African led forces and the black nationalist guerrillas of the South West Africa People's Organisation, SWAPO.
SYNOPSIS: Among the groups attending the conference are South Africa, Namibia, SWAPO, the U.N., six front-line African states and five Western powers. It's seen as the first and possibly only chance to reach a long term settlement to the bush war.
Opening the conference, U.N. Secretary General, Kurt Waldheim described it as an historic moment and called for Namibia's independence by the end of this year.
But even before the talks began there were problems over seating arrangements. SWAPO leader Sam Nujoma led a delegation of 21 officials directly opposite the Namibian party. The large number of participants resulted in crowded conditions at the four tables.
SWAPO leaders have pledged their support for the U.N.'s peace proposals. Organisation spokesman Theo Ben Gurirab told a news conference in Geneva that if the talks failed, it would be South Africa's fault.