The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 72.0°F | Mostly Cloudy

News Briefs, part 2

South Africa Reincorporates Bophuthatswana Homeland

Los Angeles Times

The land of Bop is no more. The Republic of Bophuthatswana, a fictitious country that was granted independence by South Africa's apartheid era rulers in 1977 and recognized by no one else, has been effectively reclaimed by South Africa after last week's violent mass protests and an abortive invasion by a ragtag army of white vigilantes.

Until South Africa's first elections with universal suffrage are held next month, Tjaart van der Walt, South Africa's resident ambassador in Mmabatho, was named interim administrator of Bop, as the Tswana tribal homeland was usually called.

"The sad fact was that, humanely speaking, the loss of life and property in the homeland could have been prevented," van der Walt told a meeting with civil servants Monday in Mmabatho, the capital. "But we are here to pick up the pieces."

As a sign of the change, the Independent Electoral Commission, the official election watch-dog, launched "Operation Access" on Mmabatho's streets to issue voter identification cards, start voter education programs and designate polling sites for the newly enfranchised population.

Lucas Mangope, Bop's unpopular former president, was officially deposed by the multi-party Transitional Executive Council in Pretoria on Sunday after he reneged on an agreement to allow free campaigning by opposition parties.

U.S. Cautions Russia on Mideast Peace Process Coordination

The Washington Post

Secretary of State Warren Christopher Monday cautioned Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev against uncoordinated actions in the fragile Middle East peace process, suggesting that better communication is needed between Washington and Moscow, U.S. officials said.

Christopher met Kozyrev during a 2-hour visit to this Russian Far East port, the last stop on a Pacific tour that included Australia, Japan and China. Originally, Christopher had asked to meet Kozyrev to coordinate tactics on bringing peace to Bosnia.

At a joint news conference held at the airport here, Christopher emphasized the need to communicate. "We will try to limit the degrees of imperfection and improve methods of consultation," he said.

A recent Middle East trip by Kozyrev created concern that the Russians might upset American efforts to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Moscow is nominally a cosponsor of the talks but has played a negligible role in what has been Washington's show.

While in Tunis, Kozyrev announced that PLO chief Yasser Arafat was ready to return to talks but in fact the issue was still up in the air. "Christopher suggested in a direct way that at this delicate point in diplomacy, there needs to be a common purpose," a State Department official said.

Washington is trying to deal with a more-assertive Russian foreign policy on several fronts. Russia has asserted a right to intervene in neighboring countries of the former Soviet Union, which Washington opposes.