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Obama should apologise for Iraq war: Tutu

world Updated: Feb 20, 2009 09:23 IST

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu warned on Friday that US President Barack Obama risks squandering goodwill from around the world if he fails to take concrete steps such as apologising for the Iraq war.

Tutu, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and retired archbishop of Cape Town, urged Obama to support the International Criminal Court (ICC) and “come down hard” on African dictators.

The 77-year-old anti-apartheid icon said that when Obama was elected in November last year, “I wanted to jump and dance and shout” as he had done after voting in his homeland for the first time in 1994.

But a few weeks into the new administration, he now warned in an article for the BBC’s website that the high hopes surrounding Obama’s presidency may turn sour.

Obama “could easily squander the goodwill that his election generated if he disappoints,” Tutu wrote.

“It would be wonderful if, on behalf of the nation, Obama apologises to the world, and especially the Iraqis, for an invasion that I believe has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster.”

The 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq took place was ordered by the then US president George W Bush.