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Tuesday, 10 December 1974
Page: 3263

Senator GIETZELT (NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question, which is directed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs deals with an international matter. I will leave the dirty questions to a handful of Opposition senators. Has the Minister seen reports of talks between the black African leaders from Rhodesia and representatives of the Smith regime about a possible settlement of the Rhodesian problem? Can the Minister advise the Senate whether any progress has been made in the efforts to establish majority rule in that region?

Senator WILLESEE -The situation at the moment is that the 2 detained African nationalist leaders, Joshua Nkomo of the Zimbabwe African People's Union and the Reverend Sithole of the Zimbabwe African National Union, were released by Rhodesia to attend talks in Lusaka with President Kaunda of Zambia, President Nyerere of Tanzania, President Seretse Khama of Botswana and Samora Machel, President of Frelimo. It is believed that Bishop Muzorewa, of the African National Council, also went to the talks. The Smith regime was represented by Cabinet Secretary Gaylord

The leaders of Rhodesia's four nationalist organisations- Zanu, Zapu, Frolizi and the African National Council; the only one not mentioned is the Front for the Liberation of Zimbabwehave signed an accord which unites them under the African National Council. Joshua Nkomo and the Reverend Sithole signed the accord on behalf of Zapu and Zanu respectively.

The initial round of talks in Lusaka failed to produce a formula acceptable to the Smith regime but we understand that talks have continued. Australia has consistently supported the British Government's Five Principles as the basis for a constitutional settlement in Rhodesia, especially the fifth principle that any basis proposed for independence must be acceptable to the black majority of Rhodesia. The Government regrets that an agreement acceptable to both sides could not be produced, but welcomes the news that the Rhodesian nationalist organisations have united under the leadership of the African National Council. The Government hopes that the current talks will pave the way for a peaceful solution in Rhodesia.

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