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General News of Thursday, 5 December 2013

Source: AP

World leaders pay tribute to Mandela

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Leaders around the world are paying tribute to Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president who fought apartheid both as a prisoner of that system of white rule and later as a political leader.

Counting himself among the millions influenced by Nelson Mandela, US President Barack Obama mourned the death of the anti-apartheid icon with whom he shares the distinction of being his nation's first black president.

"He no longer belongs to us. He belongs to the ages," Obama said in a somber appearance at the White House Thursday (local time).

"I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life," he continued. "And like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set."

Obama, the first African-American president of the United States, declared that he world has lost an influential, courageous and 'profoundly good' man with the death of the anti-apartheid icon.

Former US President Jimmy Carter, who fought for human rights advances around the globe during his administration, said he and wife Rosalyn were saddened by the death of the anti-apartheid icon.

"The people of South Africa and human rights advocates around the world have lost a great leader. His passion for freedom and justice created new hope for generations of oppressed people worldwide, and because of him, South Africa is today one of the world's leading democracies," Carter said in a statement.


Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair praised Nelson Mandela as a "unique political figure at a unique moment" in history.

"Through his leadership, he guided the world into a new era of politics in which black and white, developing and developed, north and south, despite all the huge differences in wealth and opportunity, stood for the first time together on equal terms," Blair said. "Through his dignity, grace and the quality of his forgiveness, he made racism everywhere not just immoral but stupid; something not only to be disagreed with, but to be despised. In its place he put the inalienable right of all humankind to be free and to be equal."


In the island nation of Haiti, which became the world's first black republic in 1804 through a successful slave revolt, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said Mandela won't be forgotten.

"The world has lost a great leader and an inspiration to humanity today," Lamothe said in an email. "We wish the people of South Africa and in particular President Mandela's family our deepest and sincerest condolences - Haiti will never forget this great leader."

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