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Obama not to visit Mandela in hospital

Last Updated: Saturday, June 29, 2013 - 15:11

Zee Media Bureau

Pretoria: US President Barack Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama who arrived in South Africa will meet with the relatives of anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela, but will not visit the hospital where the Mandela is admitted.

Mandela has now spent three week in the Pretoria hospital where he is being treated for lung infection. South Africa is the second stop for Obama on his three-nation African tour.

"Out of deference to Nelson Mandela`s peace and comfort and the family`s wishes, they will not be visiting the hospital," the White House said in a statement.

The Obamas would meet privately with members of the Mandela family "to offer their thoughts and prayers at this difficult time," the statement added.

Since starting his Africa tour in Senegal on Thursday, Obama has paid fulsome tribute to the man globally admired as a symbol of struggle against injustice and of racial reconciliation for the way he led South Africa out of centuries of white-minority rule.
The U.S. president has called Mandela a "personal hero" and is due to make a tour on Sunday of Robben Island, the former penal colony where South Africa`s first black president passed 18 of the 27 years he spent in apartheid jails.
Obama held bilateral talks on Saturday in Pretoria with South African President Jacob Zuma.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Saturday, June 29, 2013 - 15:08

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