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2003-02-14

Nelson Mandela Is Condemning Bush’s Plans to Invade Iraq; South African President Thabo Mbeki Announces Baghdad and UN Inspectors Have Accepted South Africa’s Offer to Help Iraq Disarm

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South African President Thabo Mbeki today announced that both Baghdad and UN weapons inspectors have accepted South Africa’s offer to help Iraq disarm.

Speaking at the opening of the South African Parliament, Mbeki said a South African team had offered to share its own experience of the disarmament of weapons.

Blix last month praised what he calls "the South African model of co-operation" with the United Nations and urged Baghdad to adopt it.

A decade ago, Blix was the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, when its inspectors traveled to South Africa to verify claims that all the country’s nuclear weapons had been dismantled.

Today, Blix reports to the UN Security Council. The world’s media is riveted on the deepening split between the US and Europe. But countries all over the world are opposed to the Bush administration’s plans to launch a first-strike attack on Iraq.

At the African Union summit in Ethiopia last week, 54 African heads of state issued a statement saying the African Union is firmly against any war against Iraq. African Union Chair and South African President Mbeki said many of Africa’s economic problems stem from a sharp rise in oil prices following war in the Middle East in 1973. He warned that a new conflict in the Gulf would have a serious impact on Africa’s economies by pushing up oil prices.

Meanwhile, former South African President Nelson Mandela has strongly criticized the Bush administration.

Mandela spent 30 years in prison for his leadership in the struggle against apartheid. In 1994 he was elected the President of South Africa’s new multi-racial democracy.

He spoke last month to the International Women’s Forum meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Tape:

  • Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa, political prisoner and anti-apartheid movement leader, speaking at the International Women’s Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa on January 30, 2003

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