JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — A complex exchange of prisoners, involving a South African army commando, a young French Communist and a Dutch historian--the latter two allegedly having worked for the African National Congress--and 133 captured Angolan soldiers was agreed upon Saturday, the governments involved announced.
Angola, France, the Netherlands and South Africa all welcomed the exchange, which is scheduled to take place Monday in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. They expressed hope in separate statements that the agreement, reached after months of delicate, often difficult negotiations, would clear the way for further moves toward peace in southern Africa.
Under the pact, Angola will release Maj. Wynand du Toit, the South African commando captured in an abortive attempt in May, 1985, to blow up American-operated oil field facilities in Angola's northern Cabinda region.
South Africa will release the Frenchman, Pierre-Andre Albertini, 27, who had been sentenced to four years in prison in Ciskei, a nominally independent tribal homeland where he had been teaching. He was jailed for refusing to testify at the trial of a prominent anti-apartheid activist, who was later convicted of terrorism and of furthering the aims of the outlawed African National Congress.
Pretoria will also allow Klaas de Jonge, a Dutch historian, to leave the country without prosecution on charges of treason, terrorism, sabotage and assisting the ANC's guerrilla struggle. For two years, De Jonge has remained in the Netherlands Embassy, unable to leave, after he escaped from the South African security police and took refuge there.
And the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, a South African-backed, rightist movement known as UNITA, which is fighting the Marxist government in Luanda, will free 133 Angolan soldiers to complete the prisoner exchange.
In Paris, Premier Jacques Chirac, whose government took the lead in the negotiations, said that he believes the prisoner exchange can bring broader talks on resolving the current conflicts in the region.
In Cape Town, President Pieter W. Botha said that he hopes the agreement will "serve as an incentive for all the leaders in the region to resolve their differences through negotiation."
The Albertini case had greatly complicated South Africa's relations with France, where President Francois Mitterrand had refused to accept the credentials of the new South African ambassador to Paris to protest the imprisonment.
France, like other countries, does not recognize Ciskei's "independence" and refused to deal with the homeland government, holding South Africa responsible for Albertini's imprisonment.
De Jonge, who celebrated his 50th birthday Saturday, was accused of bringing arms and explosives into South Africa for the African National Congress and of planning some terrorist attacks. But he escaped from police custody before he could be brought to trial.
His presence in the Dutch Embassy in Pretoria--police entered the embassy and snatched him back, but then returned him when the Dutch protested--had similarly strained relations with The Hague.
Du Toit, 29, the South African commando, was captured during an attempt to blow up oil facilities in May, 1985, in what appears to have been an attempt by Pretoria to cripple the Angolan economy and perhaps force Angola into negotiations with the UNITA forces led by Jonas Savimbi.