Gordon Brown hails Nelson Mandela

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Tuesday held private talks in London with former South African president Nelson Mandela, whom he hailed as ”the greatest and most courageous leader of our generation.”

The meeting in Downing Street preceded the planned inauguration on Wednesday of a large statue of Mandela in London’s Parliament Square, opposite the Houses of Parliament.

The unveiling of the Mandela statue in such a prominent location — Parliament Square is already home to a large bronze statue of war-time leader Winston Churchill — follows years of controversy.

An earlier plan by London’s mayor, Ken Livingstone, to site the Mandela statue in central Trafalgar Square, where it would have been even more prominent, was defeated.

Brown and Livingstone are due to be present at the inauguration ceremony. — Sapa-dpa

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