/ 3 September 2007

Sarkozy meets Madiba in Paris

Nelson Mandela arrived in Paris on Monday for a three-day visit, and was greeted at the airport by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The 89-year-old Mandela, moving with difficulty, climbed off the airplane at Orly Airport with the help of a white cane and was met by Sarkozy and Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

Sarkozy then accompanied him to his Paris hotel, where Mandela will stay until Thursday, the presidential press service said.

Mandela, former South African president and a Nobel laureate, was honoured Sunday at an unusual auction in Monaco, where Prince Albert II hailed the anti-apartheid icon as a ”beacon” for humanity.

Among items listed for sale were the jersey Carl Lewis wore when winning one of his nine Olympic gold medals and a piece of rock from Robben Island, where Mandela was imprisoned by the apartheid government of South Africa for 18 years. — Sapa-AP