Leaders of nearly 30 countries confirm attendance at Mandela's funeral: SA government   2013-12-08 22:47:58            

JOHANNESBURG, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- The South African government said on Sunday that leaders of 13 African states have confirmed attendance at former South African Nelson Mandela's funeral, in addition to 15 from outside the continent.

International and regional organizations from the United Nations and European Commission to the African Union have also confirmed attendance, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said in an update on Mandela's State Funeral.

Eleven eminent persons will also be in South Africa during the mourning period, Chabane said without naming them.

From the United States, President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama will be accompanied by three former presidents, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and their spouses, and 26 Congressmen.

The Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff, will be accompanied by four former Heads of State, Jose Sarney, Collor de Mello, Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Lula da Silva.

"From today we will see the arrival of a large contingent of Heads of State and Government and a broad range of eminent persons, including royalty," said Chabane.

The fact that international leaders are making their way to South Africa at such short notice reflects the special place Mandela holds in the hearts of people around the globe, Chabane said. "We are touched by the fact that many countries have declared periods of mourning, ordered that flags be flown at half- mast and draped or lit landmarks in the colors of the South African flag. We truly appreciate these gestures."

Chabane said the government appreciates the willingness showed by a broad range of eminent persons to come to South Africa to "join us personally at this time of mourning, reflection and celebration of Nelson Mandela's life and legacy."

"We expect more confirmations, and we wish to reiterate that our international guests are most welcome as they join us at this difficult time," Chabane said.

The government has set Dec. 10 for official memorial service at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg. Then Mandela's body will lie in state in the Union Buildings in Pretoria for three days beginning from Dec. 11.

South Africans and selected international visitors and guests will be able to view Mandela's remains during this time.

On Dec. 14, Mandela's remains will be transported to the Eastern Cape from Air Force Base Waterkloof in Pretoria, where the ruling African National Congress will bid Mandela farewell.

Also on this day, a procession will take place from Mthatha to Qunu where the Thembu community will conduct a traditional ceremony.

On Dec. 15, a funeral service and interment ceremony will take place at Mandela's home and final resting place at Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

Mandela died of a long standing lung disease on Thursday at his Johannesburg home, at the age of 95.


Profile: South Africa's ex-president, anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela

Special: Farewell, Nelson Mandela

AU holds memorial services for late Mandela

ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU), the South African Embassy and the Ethiopian government on Sunday held memorial services for the late anti-apartheid leader and former South African president, Nelson Mandela, at the AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Hosted by Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission, and Febe Potgieter Gqubule, former South African ambassador, the memorial services kicked off with interfaith prayers by religious leaders.   Full story

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama will attend a memorial service for late former South African President Nelson Mandela on Tuesday, a White House official said on Saturday.

First lady Michelle will accompany the president on his trip, but U.S. media said the official did not disclose more details about the president's schedule and his delegation. Full story

Canadian PM to pay final respects to Mandela

OTTAWA, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Saturday that he, together with his three predecessors, will travel to Johannesburg on Sunday to pay their last respects to former South African President Nelson Mandela, who died two days ago.

In a statement, Harper praised Mandela as "one of the world's most respected political and moral leaders." Full story

Preparations in full swing for Mandela's funeral: government

JOHANNESBURG, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- The South African government announced on Saturday that preparations are in full swing for the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela.

Among the arrangements, Mandela's body is being prepared by the Military Health Service of the South African National Defense Force to lie in state at the Union Buildings from Dec. 11 to 13, said Collins Chabane, Minister in the Presidency. Full story

Mandela's death not affects S. African future political developments: experts

JOHANNESBURG, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- The death of former president Nelson Mandela "will not pose" an impact on South African future political direction and developments, analysts said on Saturday.

In an interview with Xinhua, University of South Africa (UNISA) Political Sciences Professor, Dirk Kotze said Mandela was not "actively involved" in the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and national politics since his retirement in 1999.Full story

Chinese president mourns "world-renowned statesman" Mandela

BEIJING, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday expressed deep grief over the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95.

In a message of condolences to his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma, Xi said the Chinese people will always remember his extraordinary contribution to the development of bilateral relations and the cause of human progress.Full story

Editor: Fu Peng
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