Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has urged new US President Barack Obama to signal a real change of heart on Middle East policy by apologizing for the Iraq war.
Archbishop Tutu, aged 77, who is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the retired Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, said late last week that Mr Obama risked squandering goodwill from around the world if he failed to acknowledge mistakes and annunciate policies for "moving forward".
The archbishop, who is part of a network called "the elders" who are seeking to bring influence to bear on situations needing reconciliation and conflict transformation, also encouraged President Obama to support the International Criminal Court and to “come down hard” on African dictators.
The anti-apartheid figurehead warned in an article for the BBC’s website that the high hopes surrounding Mr Obama’s presidency could turn sour.
The president, he said, “could easily squander the good will that his election generated if he disappoints.”
Archbishop Tutu wrote: “It would be wonderful if, on behalf of the nation, Obama apologizes to the world, and especially the Iraqis, for an invasion that I believe has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster.”