London: Former South African president Nelson Mandela was furious that he was banned from meeting former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and wanted to criticise her policies to her face, according to a leaked secret cable from WikiLeaks.
Plans to meet Thatcher in 1990 just months after he was released after 27 years in prison were vetoed by his party, the African National Congress.
According to the Daily Mail, a secret cable from America claimed that Mandela was ‘furious’ with top adviser Zwelakhe Sisulu for persuading the ANC leadership to veto his plans.
Mandela had wanted to criticise Thatcher’s policy of ‘constructive engagement’ with the then apartheid regime.
A leaked cable from the US embassy in Pretoria said: “We understand Mandela was keen for a Thatcher meeting but that Sisulu argued successfully against it.”
Thatcher had described Mandela and the ANC as terrorists during their struggle against apartheid in the 1980s.
“They can damage national security, are not in the national interest and, as the US have said, may put lives at risk. We have a very strong relationship with the US Government. That will continue,” Thatcher had said then.
The US says it has known for some time that WikiLeaks held the diplomatic cables. No one has been charged with passing them to the website, but suspicion focuses on Welsh-born US Army Pfc Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst arrested in Iraq in June and charged over an earlier leak.