‘It’s the biggest funeral in history’

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IOL pic dec9 kofi annan will attend mandela events

Independent Newspapers

Former UN leader Kofi Annan (pictured), Cuban President Raul Castro, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila, Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba, Senegalese President Macky Sall, Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara and Afghan President Hamid Karzai are expected to attend events in honour of Nelson Mandela this week. Picture: David Ritchie

Johannesburg - Dozens of serving and former heads of state are expected this week for Nelson Mandela’s memorial and funeral.

British officials said Prince Charles would represent his mother, Queen Elizabeth, at Qunu, while Prime Minister David Cameron would represent the British government at the FNB Stadium.

A White House official said President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle would attend the FNB service, but did not rule out a funeral attendance.

Three former US presidents are set to arrive: George W Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and their wives. Former UN secretary-General Kofi Annan is on the list too.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and former presidents José Sarney, Fernando Collor de Mello, Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva have confirmed attendance.

The German embassy said President Joachim Gauck would represent his country at the FNB service.

Others whose attendance were confirmed are Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Morocco’s Prince Moulay Rachid, younger brother of King Mohammed VI.

The UN said secretary-general Ban Ki-moon would attend the funeral as well as the heads of several UN agencies, including South African Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for Human Rights, and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngquka, the head of UN Women.

Clayson Monyela, spokesman for the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, tweeted that “the Mandela funeral will officially be the biggest ever in history globally”.

He listed Cuban President Raul Castro, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila, Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba, Senegalese President Macky Sall, Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou-Nguesso, Gabonese President Alhaji Omar Bongo, Guyanan President Donald Ramotar, Haitian President Michel Martelly, and Indian President Pranab Mukherjee.

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