London's mayor calls for Sharon to be jailed
London - Ken Livingstone, the left-wing mayor of London with a reputation for outspoken comments, has called for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to be thrown into jail.
In an interview with the Guardian newspaper published Thursday, Livingstone predicted there would be no peace in the Middle East until "the West shows it is taking on board the injustice of what's happening to the Palestinians, and looks at the financial network of corruption between some of the oil sheikhdoms, the oil companies and the White House."
Livingstone said he would like to see Sharon locked up in the cell next to former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, the nationalist Serb strongman on trial in The Hague for crimes against humanity and genocide.
Ignoring the unease shown by his aides, Livingstone said, "I just long for the day I wake up and find that the Saudi royal family are swinging from lampposts and they've got a proper government that represents the people of Saudi Arabia."
Livingstone gave his backing to attempts by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to press the Palestinian issue with U.S. President George W. Bush, but was scornful of Bush's foreign policy skills.
"I'm not even sure he was aware there were any Palestinians before he was elected, any more than he knew the name of the president of Pakistan," he said, repeating a jibe often made about the U.S. president.
Livingstone has frequently spoken out against Bush and embarrassed Blair during Bush's state visit in November last year, when he held an anti-war reception in London as Bush was being hosted at a banquet given by the queen.
He has also described Bush as the greatest threat to life on the planet in reference to his environmental policies, and his comments are likely to further embarrass Blair, coming a week before the British prime minister visits Washington to discuss the Iraq crisis.
Regarding his relationship with Blair, Livingstone said: "He's not going to make me foreign secretary and I'm not going to persuade him to dump George Bush. We work together on things we agree about and we accept there are going to be things we don't agree about."
Livingstone was thrown out of the Labor Party in 2000 when he stood against the official Labor candidate in the London mayoral elections. Blair then called him a "disaster" for London but has since changed tack, backing Livingstone's return to the party he leads.
Livingstone's campaign for re-election begins in earnest next month. He is thought likely to win a second term in June by a substantial margin - this time as Labor's official candidate.