The British Foreign Secretary, Dr. David Owen, and the United Stated Ambassador to the United?
SV: British Foreign Secretary, David Owen and United States Ambassador Andrew Young seated in lounge at London airport, ZOOM INTO Owen talking in English.
GV: Young and Owen board plane for flight to Malta.
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 1: OWEN: "They could be very important. I mean, they hold the key to trying to get a negotiated peaceful settlement and possibly a ceasefire. I think we are going to see, myself, elections and I think we are going to see a black government in Rhodesia sometime this year. The key question is are you going to have elections in which everybody can take part in an atmosphere which is stable and peaceful and which there is not fighting. Now of course, it is going to be very difficult. I mean to try and achieve a negotiated ceasefire between two armies, neither of whom have won or lost a battle, is very difficult. And I am under no illusions about the difficulty we face. But I still think we should try. The price of having a peaceful settlement, a ceasefire, is a very great one."
Dr. Owen's fears about the difficulty of their task, where confirmed even before he and Ambassador Young left London. In a statement from Malta, the two Rhodesian Nationalist leaders they were to meet, Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo, said they would continue their guerrilla war against the Rhodesian Government if the British were not prepared to throw out Rhodesian Premier, Ian Smith.
The Malta talks are expected to last three days and are being held while parallel settlement talks in Rhodesia have been thrown into doubt with last Friday's (17 January) walkout by one of the participants, Bishop Abel Muzorewa. Observers, however, say that if the Malta talks fail, the confrontation between the internally-based african leaders who are negotiating with Premier Smith, and the guerrillas fighting the war, will sharpen.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The British Foreign Secretary, Dr. David Owen, and the United Stated Ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Andrew Young, arrived in Malta on Sunday (29 January) to meet Rhodesian nationalist guerrilla leaders for settlement talks. The two men were seeking to review the Anglo-American plan for black rule in Rhodesia. Under the plan, the Rhodesian Premier, Mr. Ian Smith, would step down in favour of a British resident commissioner who would prepare the way for elections based on one-man, one-vote. The resident commissioner would be supported by a United Nations force and would ensure black rule in Rhodesia before the end of the year. Before Dr. Owen and Mr. Young left for Malta, the British politician was asked by newsmen at London airport, how important he thought their talks would be.