Negotiating the Freedom of Namibia. The diplomatic achievement of the Western Contact Group

  • Language: Englisch
  • 138 pages
  • Maps, index
  • ISBN:
  • Print: 978-3-905758-17-7
Hans-Joachim Vergau

Negotiating the Freedom of Namibia. The diplomatic achievement of the Western Contact Group


At the beginning of 1977, five members of the Security Council caused quite a stir at the United Nations Organisation in New York. France, Great Britain and the USA, plus two non-permanent members, Canada and the Federal Republic of Germany prepared a joint initiative in order to resolve the deadlock over South Africas illegal occupation of Namibia. It gave rise, on the one hand, to the hope that the apartheid regime in Pretoria, which had previously blocked all progress, would accept Namibia’s independence with a democratic constitution based on the rule of law. On the other hand, Namibia’s liberation movement SWAPO had many reasons to distrust the diplomatic process. In this study, the multi-facetted political and diplomatic developments – and dramatic setbacks – are analysed by a key participant in the negotiations. Hans-Joachim Vergau was the the desk officer for Namibia at Germany’s UN Mission in New York until 1980 and subsequently, until 1985, Head of the Section (320) which dealt with Namibia at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bonn. Many initiatives to keep the diplomatic process going were undertaken as a result of his activities, especially during the difficult times of the Reagan Administration in the US. Following an intermediate posting to Paris, Vergau returned to New York as deputy head of the UN Mission with the rank of Ambassador from 1987 to1993, participating personally once again in all aspects concerning Namibias move towards independence in 1990.

Foreword by Helmut Bley

A The 1977/78 negotioations up to the settlement plan in accordance with SCR 435

B 1979 to 1982: Despite Pretoria’s delaying tactics, two milestones of confidence building

C 1982 to 1990: A crisis-ridden process of oerseverance with a happy ending


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