Nelson Mandela amends his support to Bush's war against terrorism

Ex-president of the Republic of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, told US President George W. Bush that he would amend his unconditional support of the war on terrorism.

Yesterday, Mandela's office made the following statement: “We are drawing up a letter to President Bush to make clear our views expressed earlier.”

Mr.Mandela expressed his support to the US military operation against Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan during his visit to the USA in November.

“We think that, despite the tragedy of the war, it can be justified only in the case that a war is the only way to do away with the terrorists whom the Taliban government refused to give up to the USA," runs the statement.

Talks and discussions that we had with our relatives, friends, and aides revealed the narrowness of our views. The talks demonstrated that such support of the war “looked as if we do not care about the suffering of the Afghani population.” Nelson Mandela says in the statement, “We are sorry that the way we expressed our position was offensive to the Muslims in South Africa and the world on the whole.” Muslims of South Africa make up about 1.5% of the population.

"I never supported the bombardment of Afghanistan and the murder of innocent people. I meant Osama bin Laden and his organisation only," says Nelson Mandela.

Mandela's office also thinks that calling bin Laden the “terrorist responsible for the Sept.11 attacks before pronouncement of a sentence in court can undermine the very fundamentals of the law.”

Nelson Mandela urged the UN to undertake a leading part in the struggle with terrorism.

At the beginning of December, Nelson Mandela spoke in Durban and criticized the USA and Britain for their actions that have not been authorised by the UN; he also said that the bombing of a sovereign nation was illegal. He warned that day as well that the “expansion of the anti-terror war and the bombardment of Iraq would become a catastrophe for the USA and Britain. Irina Maslenko based on Irish Times materials

Translated by Maria Gousseva

In the photo: Nelson Mandela

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