Former South African president Nelson Mandela has severely criticized the leaders of the United States and Britain for their policy toward Iraq.
Nelson Mandela says President Bush is arrogant in his policy toward Iraq, and disrespectful in his attitude toward the United Nations. "They do not care. Is it because the secretary-general of the United Nations is now a black man?" he asked.
Mr. Mandela has long expressed the view, which is also the official policy of the South African government, that any decisions about Iraq must be made by the United Nations. He said, if the weapons inspectors conclude Iraq has flouted U.N. resolutions, he will support any decision made by the United Nations to deal with the violation.
Mr. Mandela is just as angry with British Prime Minister Tony Blair as he is with Mr. Bush. He said Mr. Blair has abdicated his position as British leader, and become Mr. Bush's 'foreign minister.'
U.S. and British officials have in the past shrugged off Mr. Mandela's criticisms of their countries' policies toward Iraq.
The United States has not said it will disregard the United Nations. But Mr. Bush warned in his State of the Union address this week that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is running out of time to disarm, and that he is prepared to use force to end the stalemate.
Though Mr. Mandela's comments reflect the official policy of the South African government, the policy is usually expressed more diplomatically by President Thabo Mbeki and his officials.
Mr. Mbeki has said he is not aware of any information that would suggest that Iraq has been in serious material breach of Security Council Resolution 1441, and that nothing credible has been presented by the United States to justify war.
The U.N. chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, has praised South Africa as the first country to voluntarily initiate the destruction of its weapons of mass destruction and as an example of proactive cooperation with his agency.
South African officials point out that the verification process in South Africa took two-years, and have urged the United States and Britain to give weapons inspectors more time in Iraq.