/ 5 September 2007

Sarkozy hosts Mandela for dinner in Paris

Former South African president Nelson Mandela, in Paris on a private visit, met French President Nicolas Sarkozy for dinner at the Élysée Palace on Tuesday, Sarkozy’s spokesperson said.

Sarkozy, who personally greeted Mandela at Orly airport on his arrival on Monday, presented the former leader of the anti-apartheid movement with a book of photographs from an early campaign of civil disobedience in 1952, David Martinon said.

He said Mandela signed a portrait taken a few years after his release from Robben Island prison, where he was incarcerated for 27 years.

Mandela is widely admired in France for his decades-long struggle against apartheid and for his efforts to promote reconciliation in South Africa.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and financier Vincent Bollore were among other guests at the dinner, Martinon said. – Reuters