Obama visit up to Mandela family - US

2013-06-22 18:00
Barack Obama (File, AP)

Barack Obama (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - President Barack Obama will defer to Nelson Mandela's family on whether he will visit the ailing anti-apartheid icon during his trip to South Africa, a top aide says.

The possibility of a meeting between the first black presidents of both South Africa and the United States has been hotly anticipated for years.

But the declining health of Mandela, 94, who has been fighting a lung infection, and Obama's failure to visit South Africa until his second term, have left the prospect in doubt.

"We ... are going to be very deferential to the Mandela family in terms of any interaction the president may have with the Mandela family or Nelson Mandela," said Ben Rhodes, a deputy US national security advisor.

"Ultimately, we want whatever is in the best interests of his health and the peace of mind of the Mandela family," said Rhodes.

"We will be in touch with them. If he has an opportunity to see the family in some capacity, that's certainly something that we may do."

Previous meeting

Mandela remains in a Pretoria hospital, where he has been in a serious condition with a lung infection.

Former president Thabo Mbeki said Mandela's health is improving, and that he is not going to "die tomorrow" despite a growing acceptance in his nation of his mortality.

Obama will stay overnight in Johannesburg and Cape Town during his trip, and plans to visit Robben Island, where Mandela was once imprisoned.

Rhodes said that Obama's visit to the island, where Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison, would be an "important and powerful symbol" of the president's respect for Mandela, one of his personal heroes.

Obama met Mandela soon after he was elected a senator in 2005, when the former South African president was in Washington.

The two have spoken several times since on the telephone.

Obama's wife, Michelle, was able to pay a visit to the anti-apartheid icon during her trip to Africa two years ago, and she said it was the most moving moment of her visit.

Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  barack obama  |  obama in africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
18 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
ADVERTORIAL
Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

/News
 

Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.

 
 

You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.