ARCHBISHOP Desmond Tutu withdrew from participating in a
conference this week at which the former Prime Minister, Tony
Blair, was also scheduled to speak.
A statement issued on Tuesday by Dr
Tutu's office said: "Ultimately, the Archbishop is of the view that
Mr Blair's decision to support the United States' military invasion
of Iraq, on the basis of unproven allegations of the existence in
Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, was morally indefensible."
It went on to say that the Discovery
Invest Leadership Summit, which was scheduled to take place in
Johannesburg, on Thursday, "has leadership as its theme. Morality
and leadership are indivisible. In this context, it would be
inappropriate and untenable for the Archbishop to share a platform
with Mr Blair."
A statement issued the same day by Mr
Blair's office said that he and Dr Tutu "were never actually
sharing a platform" at the conference. "As far as Iraq is
concerned, they have always disagreed about removing Saddam
[Hussein] by force - such disagreement is part of a healthy
It is not the first time that Dr Tutu
has been outspoken in his condemnation of the war in Iraq. In 2004,
during a visit to London, Dr Tutu called on Mr Blair and the former
US President George W. Bush to apologise for their pursuit of an
"immoral war" (
News, 20 February 2004).