Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

UN Set to Join Efforts to Resolve S. Africa Crisis Pretoria Likely to Allow a Monitoring Body to Legitimize Violence Probe

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

UN Set to Join Efforts to Resolve S. Africa Crisis Pretoria Likely to Allow a Monitoring Body to Legitimize Violence Probe

Article excerpt

A ROLE for United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali in efforts to coax the Pretoria government and the African National Congress (ANC) back to the negotiating table is apparently taking shape behind the scenes.

A UN spokeswoman confirmed late Wednesday that Mr. Boutros-Ghali had "accepted in principle" an invitation from South African Foreign Minister Roelof (Pik) Botha to visit the country, but no date has been set.

After resisting the move, the South African government appears to have acknowledged that foreign help is inevitable because of the high level of violence in black townships, highlighted by the June 17 massacre of at least 39 blacks in the Boipatong massacre in a township south of Johannesburg.

Western diplomatic sources said that Pretoria was prepared to discuss the involvement of up to 500 international monitors on condition that they enter the field with the security forces. But Pretoria was implacably opposed to a high-level international mission that would pass judgment on the government and the security forces from a distance, the diplomats said.

Western diplomats said efforts were being made to ensure that equal pressure was being applied to both the major players in the South African conflict.

"The ANC is in for a sobering lesson that it no longer occupies - automatically - the moral high ground in the political power struggle," said one diplomat.

"On the other hand, {President Frederik} de Klerk is going to have to realize that he will have to do something concrete to end the political violence - and perceptions that forces loyal to the government are involved in promoting it," the diplomat said.

The UN spokeswoman says that a Security Council meeting on South Africa is likely. A diplomatic source told the Monitor that July 10 had been "pencilled in" for the meeting.

Boutros-Ghali is due to report back to members of the Council today. He met yesterday in London with British Prime Minister John Major, who has emerged as a key player in the diplomacy.

Following the Boipatong massacre, ANC President Nelson Mandela telephoned Boutros-Ghali in New York and asked to address a special meeting of the UN Security Council. …

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