Rhodesian nationalist leader Joshua Nkomo announced in Zambia on Saturday (11 September) that he was prepared for unity talks with a rival nationalist group and indicated that these discussions could begin as soon as possible.
CU Nkomo speaking. (3 shots)
REPORTER: "What do you think the American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger can achieve as far as the Zimbabwe issue is concerned?"
NKOMO: "Well, I don't know because I do not know what Kissinger and Vorster - what they are doing. They are carrying out their exercise by themselves. If Henry Kissinger and the others have accepted the fact that the people of Zimbabwe have asserted themselves and they see the minority white regime collapsing, their only role is to help that regime to change their power to the majority, which is the legitimate thing to do. I am not prepared to discuss what form it will take, because if you start discussing the form before you talk to the other people its not healthy. (Indistinct) we are trying to see what we can do and we shall discover when we meet what form the thing will take."
REPORTER: "Are you under pressure from the front-line presidents to reach a unity accord?"
NKOMO: "(Indistinct) pretty steady pressure."
According to observers quoted by Reuters, it appears that Mr. Nkomo's offer of unity between his group and Zanu -- which has been bearing the brunt of the fighting in Rhodesia's guerrilla war - was designed to help him clinch the political leadership among the nationalists and speak on their behalf to Dr. Kissinger.
Initials VS 20.05
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Rhodesian nationalist leader Joshua Nkomo announced in Zambia on Saturday (11 September) that he was prepared for unity talks with a rival nationalist group and indicated that these discussions could begin as soon as possible. During a news conference Mr. Nkomo, leader of the internal wing of Rhodesia's African National Council, said that he would talk only with the former Zimbabwe African National Union - Zanu - and ruled out the possibility of negotiations with Bishop Abel Muzorewa, leader of the ANC's external wing. He also spoke about U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and South African Prime Minister John Vorster's role in the Rhodesian situation.