Statement on the Southwestern Africa Peace Settlement

 

December 22, 1988

 

I am pleased to announce that Secretary of State Shultz represented the United States at a very important ceremony today in New York in which formal agreements were signed aimed at bringing peace to southwestern Africa. The foreign ministers of South Africa, Angola, and Cuba signed accords leading to the staged and complete withdrawal of Cuban military forces from Angola and for implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 435 leading to independence for Namibia. The United States mediated negotiations leading to these historic agreements.

 

The agreements signed today are the result of intense negotiations which have taken place over several years. They promise to end the cycle of violence which has plagued the Namibian-Angolan border area for more than 13 years, inflicting untold human misery and property damage. We are pleased that Namibia is to gain its long-overdue independence after being occupied by South African forces for more than 70 years. Regarding the Cuban military in Angola, the United States long has contended that the presence of Cuban combat forces was a destabilizing element in the region. We are gratified that they will be departing the African continent. When completed in 1991, the total withdrawal of Cuban forces from Angola will end one of the major regional problems that have troubled U.S.-Soviet relations in recent years.

 

The United States, as mediator in the negotiations, is pleased to have assisted the parties to find a peaceful formula to reconcile differences and looks forward to working with other members of the joint commission formed to monitor implementation of the agreements.