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A South African Analyst Considers President Bush's Ultimatum To Saddam Hussein - 2003-03-18

President Bush has given Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein forty-eight hours to leave the country. English to Africa reporter Richard Kotey spoke with Dr. Martin Rupiya, senior researcher at the South Africa Institute for Security Studies, from Johannesburg.

Dr. Rupiya said he gathered from the speech that President Bush is frustrated and that he wants to marginalize the UN Security Council. Dr. Rupiya said he disagrees with the president on the ultimatum and called the speech a non-starter, but he said he agrees with those who say it’s now too late to prevent a war. He discussed the possible repercussions of war on developing countries in Africa and the rest of the world.

On the subject of oil, Dr. Rupiya said he cannot say specifically how dependent Africa is on Iraqi oil, but he said oil from Nigeria, Algeria and Angola is more important to the continent, so a disruption in the supply from Iraq will not have much affect on Africa. He said he is more concerned about the impact of an oil crisis on the price of oil around the world.