Mandela slams US again

Former president Nelson Mandela on Thursday again condemned the United States’ belligerent stand on Iraq, saying there was ”no doubt” that the US stance was a threat to world peace.

He was speaking at the University of Cape Town, after attending the presentation of an honorary doctorate in literature to distinguished Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe.

Earlier this week, Mandela was quoted by Newsweek magazine as saying the US posed a threat to world peace due to what he saw as a series of foreign policy mistakes made over the past several decades.

”The United States has made serious mistakes in the conduct of its foreign affairs, which have had unfortunate repercussions long after the decisions were taken,” Mandela told Newsweek.

He told reporters in Cape Town on Thursday that anyone who wanted peace and stability in the world would respect the United Nations, which had been created for the purpose of promoting peace.

”In fact the United Nations has succeeded beyond our wildest expectations in bringing about peace.

”And all its members respect the United Nations charter. They don’t do anything which may disturb that peace and stability and it is for that reason that we say the message that is being sent out by the United States is that if you fear the United Nations… do as you please.

”As I have said in the past, that is to introduce chaos in international relations and that must be condemned in the strongest terms.”

Asked whether the US attitude was a threat to peace, he replied: ”Oh, there’s no doubt.”

He said former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, who was in Baghdad, said there was no evidence of the existence of facilities for weapons of mass destruction.

This had been echoed by a number of world leaders.

”And on what basis must he (US President George Bush) ignore the considered opinion of world leaders who are members of the United Nations and who respect that body?”

Mandela said the United States was used to acting unilaterally, and several of its foreign policy decisions had had long-lasting repercussions.

US intervention in Iran had led to the Islamic revolution, which overthrew the Shah.

The US decision to support the mujahedeen in Afghanistan, rather than a moderate government, had brought the Taliban into power. – Sapa

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Ben Maclennan
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