OTTAWA--Canada could go it alone and level tougher sanctions against South Africa, External Affairs Minister Joe Clark said Tuesday, but only if the Commonwealth partners fail to work out a common position.
"If we can find no other way to have our influence count against apartheid, then we will take that step," Clark told the Commons. Clark was reacting to South African air and ground attacks Monday against guerrilla targets in three neighboring black-ruled Commonwealth countries.
Earlier Tuesday, Clark said he was temporarily ordering home Canada's ambassador to South Africa for consultations.
In the Commons, Liberal external affairs critic Don Johnston called for the severing of diplomatic relations with Pretoria, while New Democratic leader Ed Broadbent pressed Clark to ban South African agricultural imports.
But Clark argued that Canada and its allies would "be able together to accomplish more than one nation acting alone."
Clark suggested the raids, which left three persons dead in Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, were aimed at sabotaging the Commonwealth peace plan to prod Pretoria to begin talks with black South African leaders on dismantling apartheid, the country's system of racial separation.
Clark held what a spokesman called "preliminary and general discussions" with nine Commonwealth diplomats here Tuesday afternoon.
A peace-envoy plan hammered out with the help of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney at a Commonwealth leaders' meeting last October was seen as a compromise move to avoid a split between hard-line members seeking tough economic sanctions against Pretoria and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who contends sanctions will hurt black South Africans more than the while regime.
Canada has already levelled a range of limited sanctions, including a halt to sales of sensitive strategic goods and a ban on government loans to Pretoria.
(article accompanied by photograph of Joe Clark, captioned:
JOE CLARK met Commonwealth envoys)
(text of May 21, 1986 Vancouver Sun article)
By PATRICK NAGLE
HARARE--Since the South Africans invented the word "kommando" and the tactics that go with it, no one should be surprised at the stinging ferocity of their recent raids on neighboring countries.
The question is: What was their real motive in bombing and machinegunning selected targets in three independent states with whom they maintain otherwise stiff, but essential, economic relations?
Further, why was the timing of the raids carried out in such a fashion as to offer a gratuitous insult to an international group of negotiators trying to assist the resolution of South Africa's domestic unrest?
None of the three countries attacked--Botswana, Zambia or Zimbabwe--poses a realistic military threat.
Botswana, which is artificially wealthy on the financing of the South African mining industry, had to ask for help from the British Army earlier this year to teach its own military the basics of anti-terrorist defence.
The British were brought in after Botswana and Zimbabwe were threatened by South Africa following the placement of land mines in the Northern Transvaal by ANC guerrillas who were alleged to have come in from the north.
Since they have adjacent borders, the South African Defence Force seems to use Botswana as a convenient punching bag.
They pulled a similar raid against Gabarone, the capital, a year ago, once again claiming they had wiped out an African National Congress hideout.
The only hard evidence displayed at that time was a mini-computer used to produce a newsletter and a mailing list of subscribers.
The most recent Botswana assault claimed the life of a man with a name similar to an ANC member but no definite proof of ANC activity in the country has been given to contradict the ANC's outright denial of involvement in Botswana.
Zambia, which is virtually bankrupt, poses no more of a threat to South Africa than does Botswana except that the capital, Lusaka, serves as the ANC headquarters-in-exile.
The country has never recovered from the collapse of the world copper price and has to hold weekly currency auctions to determine the value of its money for the purchases of foreign exchange.
In a landlocked country, the Zambian economy is further constrained by the civil wars in Angola and Mozambique and the inefficiency of the port facilities at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The South African raid on the capital of Lusaka, which would have had to use the Caprivi Strip of Namibia as a takeoff point, appears to have been the biggest blunder of the three.
While it has been reported there was an ANC hideout nearby, the South Africans actually struck a United Nations camp killing one refugee and injuring eight others, including two children under five years of age.
In Zimbabwe, Prime Minister Robert Mugabe's government has been the least forthcoming with information about the South African attack--perhaps because this country has the most to lose.
Zimbabwe is more of a political problem to South Africa than a military one because it is a black African country that shows some success in managing its affairs and improving the life of its people.
The problem for Zimbabwe is that, while it implacably opposes the racial segregation policies of the while Pretorian government, it is dependent on South Africa's trade and transport for the economic growth which makes it an African showcase.
Besides the denial of the ANC that they had any operational bases in any of the countries attacked, the South African government has offered none of the kind of proof (such as intercepted telephone messages) that the United States used to justify the bombing of Libyan targets.
(text of May 24, 1986 Vancouver Sun article)
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