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17 Oct 2005 14:18
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe denounced United States President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair as “the two unholy men of our millennium” at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation anniversary meeting in Rome on Monday.
Mugabe (81) slated the two leaders as “international terrorists” for launching a war in Iraq and for allegedly meddling in the domestic affairs of small countries like his own.
“The US and Britain have taken it upon themselves to decide for us in the developing world. Even to interfere in our domestic affairs, and want to bring about what they call regime change.
Where are their democratic tenets? Where is their morality? Where is their compliance with the salient principles of good governance?”
Mugabe launched the attack at the end of an address to a conference marking the 60th anniversary of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) at its Rome headquarters.
“Must we allow these men, the two unholy men of our millennium, who in the same way as Hitler and Mussolini formed their unholy alliance, formed an alliance to attack an innocent country?” Mugabe said.
“We did not agree with Saddam Hussein, but we accorded to the people of Iraq their right to decide who should rule them,” said the 81-year-old Zimbabwean leader, who was applauded at the end of his speech.
Mugabe was the last of nine heads of state to address the conference, attended by delgates from 188 FAO member-states.
Departing from a prepared text, Mugabe unfolded a newspaper carrying comments by the top US representative to the UN food agencies, Ambassador Tony Hall, who said he was “amazed” that Mugabe was invited to the meeting when his policies were contributing to the starvation of his own people.
Speaking from a podium flanked by two bodyguards, Mugabe accused Bush and Blair of the personifying the “arrogance of imperialism” before turning to Hall.
“It is that arrogance that we see expressed by this agent of imperialism, Tony Hall.”
Then Mugabe gestured to his fellow African, FAO Director General Jacques Diouf of Senegal, saying: “I thank you for defying him. You have gone against the grain of some of Zimbabwe’s enemies.”
The European Union imposed a travel ban on the Zimbabwean president and 100 officials of his government for alleged vote-rigging in a disputed 2002 presidential poll, but Mugabe is exempt when travelling on UN business.
Warming to his theme, he said Bush and Blair alone appeared to be able to decide “who shall rule in Iraq, who shall rule in Afghanistan, who shall rule in Asia, who shall rule in Venezuela.”
“What world are we building?” he demanded.
“Look at the situation now in Iraq. Every day death! Every day fires! Who is responsible for that?” Mugabe asked.
“Is this the world we desire? A world of giants and international terrorists who use now their state muscle in order to intimidate us, [in which] we become the midgets.”
At this point, Mugabe began beating his chest. “I say, small as I am, I have a soul. I have a heart. I have a conscience. And I will not allow anything that is untoward to happen to my people.
“We destroyed British colonialism and we will not see Zimbabwe become a colony again,” he concluded, whereupon many in the audience burst into applause. - Sapa-AFP
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