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Obama may not be able to meet ailing Mandela

world Updated: Jun 26, 2013 01:13 IST
AFP
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US President Barack Obama is unlikely to see critically ill Nelson Mandela when he visits South Africa later this week, the South African minister of international relations said.

“President Obama would have loved to see president Mandela, but he is indisposed,” said Maite Nkoane Mashebane. He added giving Mandela room to recover was “in line with our tradition here.”

Mandela is in a critical condition in a Pretoria hospital after 18 days of intensive treatment.

Obama is due to arrive in South Africa on Friday, the second leg of a long-awaited tour of the continent for the United States’ first black president.

Mandela’s illness had raised doubts about a landmark meeting between the two men, who made historic strides in race relations.

Mashebane said arrangements were being made for Obama to visit Robben Island, where Mandela spent much of his 27 years in prison.

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