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Mukherjee to attend Mandela's memorial service in Johannesburg today

New Delhi, Tue, 10 Dec 2013 ANI

New Delhi, Dec 10 (ANI): President Pranab Mukherjee will attend the memorial service for anti-apartheid icon and former South African President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg today.

Mukherjee is among more than 90 heads of state and government, who will attend the memorial service, which will be held at the FNB Stadium, where Mandela made his last major public appearance during the 2010 Football World Cup.

President Mukherjee left for Johannesburg last night to attend the memorial service.

In his departure statement, Mukherjee said that it was with sadness that he was heading to South Africa as the leader of the Indian delegation to attend the state memorial service being held in honour of Nelson Mandela.

Mukherjee said that the high profile delegation that was accompanying him to Johannesburg was a reflection of the high degree of love and respect that Dr. Mandela commanded in India and among Indians for his myriad achievements.

He said: "It is with sadness that I leave for South Africa to attend the State Memorial Service in honour of Dr. Nelson Mandela who left his worldly abode on 5 December 2013.

The President is accompanied by a delegation, which includes UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Members of Parliament, Sitaram Yechuri and Satish Chandra Mishra.

"My delegation and I hope to convey to the Government and people of South Africa the intense grief and personal loss that we in India feel over the sad demise of the great soul - our beloved 'Madiba'," Mukherjee said. (ANI)

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