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Richard Branson and Nelson Mandela work to stop the Iraq War

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  • Richard Branson and Nelson Mandela work to stop the Iraq War

    That Richard Branson, the owner of the Virgin Group, is known for doing the bizarre is well known. Here is one more bit of news that would appear to be a shocker.

    Branson, according to The Mirror, reportedly tried to fly former South African President Nelson Mandela to Baghdad to convince Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to go into exile to prevent the Iraq war.

    The Virgin boss reportedly even got UN General secretary General Kofi Annan's approval for the plan, despite fears that Saddam might kidnap Mandela.

    According to the report, a private jet was ready to fly Mandela to Iraq. Branson offered to join him on the peace mission. But coalition forces invaded Iraq just before they went.

    Branson opposed invasion plans and believed if they could offer Saddam an escape route, bloodshed would be avoided.

    "I kept thinking you have to give somebody like Saddam a way out otherwise he's like a cornered animal - they have to fight. I thought the only person who could persuade him to step down was Mandela," Branson was quoted as saying. Branson said: "Mandela wanted us to get Kofi Annan's blessing, which we got. We were arranging for Mandela to go to Iraq to meet Saddam and had a plane standing by in Jo'burg from March 17." "Two days later, as we were planning to fly in, the bombing started, so it didn't come to anything." Branson is close friends with Mandela and spent weeks trying to set up the meeting with Saddam.Four Virgin executives were given secret instructions to help make the peace plan a success.

    Branson said of the war: "It was perhaps the worst foreign policy decision since Suez. You shouldn't have to maim or kill 200,000 people to get rid of one individual."
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