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Sonia Gandhi cuts short her visit to South Africa

The Indian High Commission spokesperson says, they have now arranged for Gandhi to visit only Johannesburg and Cape Town.

world Updated: Aug 22, 2007 04:30 IST

Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who was on a four-day tour to South Africa, has cut short her visit to the country, Indian High Commission spokesperson said.

Due to circumstances beyond their control, the Indian High Commission spokesperson said, they had now arranged for Gandhi to visit only Johannesburg and Cape Town. Her trip to Durban had been cancelled from the itinerary.

Gandhi is scheduled to meet the country's former President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg tomorrow and then travel to Cape Town to hold talks with President Thabo Mbeki and Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on Thursday.

She was invited to South Africa by the country's Deputy President during her visit to India last year.

She will also deliver a lecture on "The Relevance of Gandhian Philosophy in the 21st Century" at the University of Cape Town after which she would return to Johannesburg and fly back to New Delhi, the spokesman said.

The Indian Consul General's office in Durban has said arrangements had been made for her to visit the Mahatma Gandhi Settlement in the city, and Pietermaritzburg railway station where Mahatma Gandhi was thrown out of a train for riding in a whites-only coach.

She was to inaugurate the Mahatma Gandhi Peace Centre at the Durban Institute of Technology.

Although no reasons have been given for her itinerary being cut short, it is believed that the political crisis over the Indo-US nuclear deal is the cause behind it.

There is likely to be a challenge, regardless of today's ruling, he said.