WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday evening called his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma to express his "heartfelt" condolences over the death of former President Nelson Mandela.
During the phone talks, Obama "conveyed how profoundly Mandela's extraordinary example of moral courage, kindness and humility influenced his own life, as well as those of millions around the world," the White House said in a readout of the conversation.
"President Obama reaffirmed that the strong and historic partnership between the United States and South Africa will continue to draw strength from Mandela's legacy as we work together to promote equality, reconciliation and human dignity, and to build a more just and prosperous world," the White House said.
Mandela, the first black president in South Africa, died of illness on Thursday at his home in Johannesburg at the age of 95.
In a televised statement made earlier at the White House, a saddened Obama mourned Mandela's death, saying "he achieved more than could be expected of any man."
In a proclamation signed later, Obama ordered an immediate lowering of flags for Mandela at the White House, upon all public buildings, at all military posts and foreign missions until sunset of next Monday.
As the first black president in U.S. history, Obama had never met Mandela face-to-face in his life. When he visited South Africa in June, the iconic leader was hospitalized with a recurring lung infection.
But Obama and his family visited a jail cell on Robben Island where Mandela was held for 18 of his 27 years in captivity during South Africa's apartheid era.
Mandela served as president from 1994 to 1999. He was released from hospital in early September after an 85-day stay for a recurring lung infection, a result of his longtime imprisonment.
Profile: South Africa's ex-president, anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela has died at age 95
JOHANNESBURG, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Former South African president Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95 Thursday, President Jacob Zuma announced in a televised speech to the nation.
"Our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the founding President of our democratic nation has departed," Zuma said. 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
UN mourns passing of Nelson Mandela
UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon Thursday mourned the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela and gave his "deepest condolence" to the family of Mandela and the people of South Africa and Africa as a whole.
"I am profoundly saddened by the passing of Nelson Mandela," Ban told reporters here. "Nelson Mandela was a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration."Full Story
S.African gov't announces state funeral for Mandela
JOHANNESBURG, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- The South African government on Thursday evening announced that a state funeral will be held for former president Nelson Mandela, who just died at the age of 95.
President Jacob Zuma said in a statement "Our beloved Mandela will be accorded a state funeral."Full Story
Obama says Mandela "achieves more than could be expected of any man"
WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday mourned the death of Nelson Mandela, saying the former South African president has "achieved more than could be expected of any man."
In a televised speech at the White House, Obama hailed Mandela as a man who has made real his ideal of "a democratic and free society" in which all live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.Full Story