Mandela slams Israel's Netanyahu at NAM summit

DURBAN, South Africa, Sept 2 (Reuters) - South African President Nelson Mandela on Wednesday condemned as ``narrow and chauvinistic'' the administration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mandela, assuming the chairmanship of the 113-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) at a summit in Durban, urged the United States and the international community to press for a quick solution to tensions in the Middle East.

Mandela listed a number of security concerns facing the NAM over the three years of the South African chairmanship, but apportioned blame directly only to Netanyahu.

``We remain gravely concerned about the situation in the Middle East, especially the positions taken by the Netanyahu administration in Israel, which has blocked progress towards a just and peaceful solution, including the formation of a sovereign state of Palestine.

``The international community and the United States in particular has a responsibility to ensure that this matter is addressed expeditiously.

``We should not allow that the narrow, chauvinistic interests of the current administration in Israel should succeed to block the prospect of a permanent and just peace throughout the Middle East,'' Mandela said.

Israel is not a member of the NAM movement, established to protect the interests of the world's poorest countries during the Cold War.

But Yasser Arafat, president of the Palestinian Authority, attended as a full member and listened without visible expression to Mandela's comments.