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Madiba has extraordinary leadership and vision - Obama

By Sapa-AFP | Jul 19, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

US President Barack Obama yesterday extended birthday wishes to Nelson Mandela, hailing SA’s former president’s “extraordinary vision, leadership, and spirit”.

“On behalf of the United States, I wish  Nelson Mandela a very happy 92nd birthday. We are grateful to continue to be  blessed with his extraordinary vision,  leadership and spirit,” the US president  said.

“We strive to build upon his example of  tolerance, compassion and reconciliation,” Obama added.

The greetings from America’s first  black president to South Africa’s first  black leader came as the world celebrated the first International Nelson  Mandela Day in honour of Mandela’s  92nd birthday, hailing his contribution to  global politics and the fight for human  rights.

“I also join the American people, the  South African people, the United Nations  and the world in celebrating the first  annual International Nelson Mandela  Day. I encourage us all to heed the call to  engage in some form of service to others,  in honour of the 67 years of sacrifice and  service Madiba gave to us,” Obama said.

“We strive to follow his example of  what it means to truly give back to our  communities, our nations and our  world.”

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also hailed Mandela.

“His story is filled with an amazing  strength and integrity of spirit. There is  no one more deserving of this unprecedented international recognition,” Clinton said.

Said Martti Ahtisaari, former president of Finland: “(Former) president  Mandela has given 67 years of his life,  now what we all could do is try to use 67  minutes of our lives and change the  world for the better.”

Ahtisaari is a member of The Elders,  an independent group of eminent global  leaders formed by Mandela in 2008.



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