Sarkozy welcomes Mandela to France

4th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 3, 2007 (AFP) - President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday personally welcomed Nelson Mandela to France where the anti-apartheid hero arrived for a private visit.

PARIS, Sept 3, 2007 (AFP) - President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday personally welcomed Nelson Mandela to France where the anti-apartheid hero arrived for a private visit.

Sarkozy greeted the 89-year-old former South African president at Orly aiport and accompanied him to his hotel in central Paris, an AFP photographer reported.

Sarkozy's office had said that the French leader wanted to take time out from his schedule to greet Mandela in person, a courtesy that is usually reserved for visiting heads of state.

"This is exceptional, for an exceptional man. The president is delighted to meet Mr Mandela, for whom he has the deepest respect," said presidential spokesman David Martinon.

Mandela arrived from Monaco where on Sunday he attended a fundraising dinner hosted by Prince Albert II to help his children's foundation in Johannesburg.

US actor Morgan Freeman delivered a welcome speech to Mandela before some 350 guests who paid 3,500 euros (4,760 dollars) each to attend.

AFP

Subject: French news

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