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1976: White rule in Rhodesia to end
The Rhodesian Government has agreed to introduce black majority rule to the country within two years.

Prime Minister Ian Smith announced the news five days after hearing the proposals of the United States-led diplomatic delegation.

The plan presented to him by US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had been formulated by the American and British Governments.

But Mr Smith made it clear he was only accepting the plan under pressure and was not happy with the conditions.

In a broadcast to the nation from the capital Salisbury, Rhodesia's premier outlined the first of six steps agreed with Dr Kissinger.

An interim government is to be established and the violent guerrilla warfare being waged by factions of the country's black population must end.

It offers a real hope of bringing peace
UK PM James Callaghan
In return international sanctions against the state, which declared its independence from the United Kingdom 11 years ago, would end.

UK Prime Minister James Callaghan welcomed his counterpart's acceptance of the proposals, saying it was a decisive step forward.

"It offers a real hope of bringing peace to Rhodesia and of averting the threat of intensifying warfare and bloodshed," he said.

Despite the hopes of peace Mr Smith announced he was only taking the step reluctantly.

"I would be dishonest if I did not state quite clearly that the proposals which were put to us in Pretoria do not represent what in our view would be the best solution to Rhodesia's problems," he said.

But the prime minister ended his speech by urging his countrymen to make the agreement work.

"I hope all Rhodesians will join with me in dedicating themselves to ensure that there can only be one answer - success," he said.

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Ian Smith
Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith accepted the proposals reluctantly

Black majority government to be decided by Rhodesians

In Context
Ian Smith became prime minister in 1964 and unilaterally declared independence the following year.

Civil war continued after Mr Smith accepted the Kissinger-plan and elections for the transitional government were boycotted by black independence parties.

All-party talks in London in 1979 resulted in a peace agreement and in 1980 Robert Mugabe and his Zanu party were elected.

Zimbabwe's independence on 18 April 1980 was internationally recognised.

A violent campaign supported by President Mugabe to seize white-owned farms began in 2000.

The European Union imposed sanctions on the country in 2002 and Mr Mugabe's re-election was condemned as seriously flawed by international observers.

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