Idi Amin offered to act as peacemaker in NI

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Sunday, January 2, 2005

Newly revealed documents from the UK government have revealed that Ugandan dictator Idi Amin offered his services as a mediator and peacebroker during the 1970s in Northern Ireland.

Amin, who is infamous for his brutal regime in Uganda, which was responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of Ugandans, and the complete expulsion of the country's Asian community, wrote in a message to the British government: "I hold a strong view that we in Uganda, being a former colony of Britain, stand a good chance of mediating between the opposing sides in the crisis that is tearing Northern Ireland apart". Amin, presumably under the assumption that he could become an influential figure on the world stage, continued to say "This serious and regrettable development calls for Britain's best and sincere friends to come to her assistance."

According to the documents released by the British National Archives, Amin's offer was met with a mixture of bemusement and laughter, and a carefully worded reply was sent inviting Amin to mind his own business. In a covering note to the original message, the British High Commissioner in Kampala showed that while the offer showed Amin's "naïve view of world affairs", it was probably "a genuine and sincere effort to be helpful".

Amin was eventually toppled in 1979 by Ugandan dissidents, and the Tanzanian army. He died in 2003 in Saudi Arabia.