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Dr Tutu snubs Mr Blair

31 August 2012

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 democracy."

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).


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