South Africa Asked to Establish Climate Conducive to Negotiations; ANC Suspends Armed Struggle in 'Interest of Peace.' (African National Congress)

UN Chronicle, December 1990 | Go to article overview

South Africa Asked to Establish Climate Conducive to Negotiations; ANC Suspends Armed Struggle in 'Interest of Peace.' (African National Congress)


South Africa asked to establish climate conducive to negotiations

The General Assembly on 17 September called on South Africa to establish a climate fully conducive to negotiations by taking steps stipulated in the Declaration on Apartheid and its Destructive Consequences in Southern Africa and by implementing its commitment to repeal all South African legislation designed to circumscribe political activity, such as the Internal Security Act.

The Declaration was adopted by the Assembly at its sixteenth special session held from 12 to 14 December 1989.

In resolution 44/244, adopted by consensus, the Assembly called for an immediate end to violence and urged South African authorities to take urgent action towards that end, specifically by dismantling apartheid structures and ensuring effective and impartial action by security forces. It also called on all parties concerned to contribute to the establishment of a climate free of violence.

The Assembly welcomed the Joint Declaration adopted on 6 August by South Africa and the African National Congress (ANC) to facilitate commencement of substantive negotiations. The ANC was commended for initiating a call for such talks and for its "landmark decision" to suspend its armed struggle "in the interest of moving as speedily as possible towards a negotiated peaceful political settlement and in the context of the agreements reached".

The Assembly urged the international community and the Secretary-General to help facilitate the re-establishment of previously banned political organizations in South Africa and the reintegration of released political prisoners. The Secretary-General was requested to provide assistance for voluntary repatriation of South African refugees and political exiles in safety and dignity. The South African Government, the liberation movements, other South African organizations and the international community were asked to fully support that endeavour.

The Assembly called for strict adherence to the Programme of Action contained in the Declaration by maintaining existing measures aimed at encouraging South Africa to eradicate apartheid "until there is clear evidence of profound and irreversible changes", bearing in mind the Declaration's objectives.

In a 17 September statement (A/45/518), South African Foreign Minister R.F. Botha said the resolution violated the UN Charter because it endeavoured to prescribe to South Africans how they should conduct their internal affairs. Nevertheless, he noted with appreciation that the international community, as a whole, had publicly recognized the important changes being implemented in South Africa.

Process started

In addressing the Assembly on 12 September, Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar recalled that the mission he had dispatched in June to South Africa to gather information on measures taken to end the apartheid system had met with virtually all political organizations and movements. …

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