Mandela slams Western action in Kosovo

DUBLIN, Apr 13, 2000 -- (Reuters) Nelson Mandela warned on Wednesday that powerful Western countries such as the United States and Britain risked sparking global conflict if they tried to police the world alone.

"When two nations take it upon themselves to police the world...without getting the authorization of the United Nations, we must condemn that because it can lead to another world war," the former South African president said in a speech.

Mandela did not name the United States and Britain but joked that he was sure that everyone in the audience knew the two countries he had in mind.

Mandela said military actions in Iraq and Kosovo undermined the role of the United Nations as a forum for the peaceful resolution of conflict around the globe.

"They send a message that the powerful will police the world," Mandela said as he delivered the Irish Independent newspaper annual lecture at Dublin's Trinity College.

"From there it is only a step to chaos in world affairs, as power is substituted for the security of collective and democratic decision," added Mandela, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for the part he played in South Africa's transformation into a multiracial democracy after centuries of white rule.

U.S. and British planes patrol no-fly zones over Iraq and frequently clash with air defenses. The zones were declared by the West after the 1991 Gulf War and are designed to protect groups opposed to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

NATO conducted a 78-day bombing campaign against Serbia last year to protect ethnic Albanians in the province of Kosovo.

Mandela said powerful nations should not bully other members of the United Nations into following their line.

"The principle that all differences can be resolved through talk and negotiation applies also within organizations like the Security Council of the United Nations and there can be no justification for unilateral action that imposes one view over others in that body," he added.

Mandela said the example of South Africa showed that even the bitterest conflicts could be resolved through negotiation.

"On the brink of a bloody war that would have scorched the earth of our common land, South Africans recognized they were one nation with one destiny."

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