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Tutu: Mideast Peace Key to Ending Terrorism - 2001-09-24

South Africa's three Nobel Peace laureates - former Presidents Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk and former Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu - have issued a rare joint statement in which they condemned the terrorist attacks in the United States.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu says that South Africa's three Nobel Peace laureates have chosen to speak together in order to convey their deep sympathy to the people of the United States. "I do want again to express our very deepest sympathies with the people of America that our hearts go out to the bereaved and to those who have been injured," he said.

In their statement, the peace laureates unreservedly condemned the terrorist attacks on the United States. They said the world needs to unite to rid itself of the scourge of terrorism and that the culprits should be identified, apprehended, and severely punished.

Bishop Tutu, and former South African Presidents Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk, said the response to the terrorist attacks must be bound by international law. "I would hope that, as we say in our statement, the response is in terms of international law. Law is to ensure that especially the powerful do not use that power in a way that it unreasonable or inequitable. And therefore we are going to have to be careful that you don't end up being the prosecutor and the judge in your own case."

Bishop Tutu was chairman of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which investigated apartheid-era atrocities. The bishop, who is also on the board of directors of the Shimon Peres Center in Israel, adds that central to ending international terrorism will be finding a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. "One was saying that until all the people in the Middle East realize that God has said, 'you've got only this piece of land to share,' and until everyone feels that their deepest longings, aspirations are respected - until that happens, until there is actually justice, we are not going to see peace there," he said. "And until there is peace [in the Middle East] we will probably not see peace anywhere else in the world."

One South African has been positively identified among the dead at the World Trade Center in New York. Five more are counted among the missing.