Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Thatcher takes on Gorbachev over UN role

San Francisco - Three former leaders who played key roles in ending the Cold War - Mikhail Gorbachev, George Bush and Margaret Thatcher - argued heatedly on Sunday over what role the United Nations should play in world affairs. Mr Bush, the former US president, and Lady Thatcher, the former British prime minister, found themselves allied against Mr Gorbachev, the former Soviet leader, on the UN issue during the lively one-hour debate that closed an international conference here.

Mr Bush and Lady Thatcher said the UN had limitations, while Mr Gorbachev argued for it to be made more effective as a means for settling international conflict. The discussion ended the "State of the World Forum", an international meeting of 500 politicians, scientists and artists, chaired by Mr Gorbachev, to discuss how to tackle the challenges of the 21st century. Reuter