- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 30, 2003

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Jan. 30 (UPI) — Former South African President Nelson Mandela on Thursday accused President Bush of planning a "holocaust" with his Iraq policy, and said U.S. and U.K. leaders were undermining the United Nations because it was headed by a black man.

Mandela's comments, in which he also described British Prime Minister Tony Blair, as the U.S. "foreign minister," came at the International Women's Forum in Johannesburg. Mandela urged women of the world to "condemn the looming war America is preparing for."

"The women's forum must make sure that all irregularities in the world are rectified," he said. "A war on Iraq is something we must condemn without reservation."

The Nobel Peace Prize winner said the United States itself had been guilty of atrocities in Japan when it had used the atomic bomb on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.

"If there is a country which has committed unspeakable atrocities, it is the United States of America," Mandela said. "They don't care for human beings."

He said he believed the United Nations was the forum to settle the Iraq issue and he would support the world body's final decision.

"If (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein was not carrying out the U.N. instructions and resolutions … I will support them (the United Nations) without resignation," he said, "but what I condemn is one power with a president who can't think properly and wants to plant the world into holocaust."

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Mandela and Bush disagreed on the Iraq issue.

"Nelson Mandela was a great leader, he remains a great man," Fleischer at a news briefing in Washington. "But on this, the president and Nelson Mandela do not see eye to eye."

Mandela also said Bush's perceived disregard for the United Nations is because U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is black.

"They never did that when (the secretaries-general) were white," he said. "All Bush wants is Iraqi oil, because Iraq produces 64 percent of oil and he wants to get hold of it."

Fleischer denied oil was behind the U.S. policy.

"If this was a war for oil, the United States would be the ones saying lift the sanctions," he said at a news briefing in Washington. "That way Iraq could pump oil. This is about peace, and this is about protecting people in the region and the American people from Saddam Hussein who has weapons that kill millions."

Mandela also criticized Blair, Bush's key ally in Europe.

"He (Blair) is the foreign minister of the United States," Mandela said. "He is no longer prime minister of Britain."

Mandela said, however, he was pleased at the worldwide anti-war movement, including in the United States.

"I hope that that opposition will one day make him understand that he has made the greatest mistake of his life," he said.

U.N. weapons inspectors are in Iraq seeking proscribed weapons of mass destruction and to ensure Saddam's government is complying with U.N. resolutions. Washington maintains Baghdad has a track record of lying to the world and says it will disarm Saddam by force if he does not do it himself.

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