France mourns passing of Nelson Mandela

Death of Nelson Mandela – Statement by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic

Paris, 5 December 2013

Nelson Mandela made history. The history of South Africa. The history of the whole world.

A tireless fighter against apartheid, he brought it down through his courage, stubborn determination and perseverance.

Despite the personal ordeals and the interminable humiliations of a detention that lasted 27 years, he was able not only to topple a despicable regime but also to reconcile South Africans and ensure democracy prevailed.

For all those years, Nelson Mandela was the embodiment of the South African nation, the glue that bound it together and the pride of all Africa. He directed all his energy into his country having its rightful place among the leading world powers. He personally committed himself everywhere to finding solutions to conflicts that had dragged on for too long. Right until the very end of his life, he served peace.

Nelson Mandela’s message will not disappear: it will continue to inspire freedom fighters and give confidence to peoples defending just causes and universal rights.

Nelson Mandela was an exceptional resistance figure and a magnificent victor.

He showed that the human spirit could not only break the chains of servitude but also unleash the energy to successfully build a common destiny.

France shares the infinite sadness of the South African people.

I extend to Graça Machel and Nelson Mandela’s other family members and close friends the whole French people’s most sincere condolences./.

Death of Nelson Mandela – Statement by M. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Prime Minister

Paris, 5 December 2013

I was extremely sad to learn of Nelson Mandela’s death.

Throughout his life, he bravely fought for justice and against the utterly despicable apartheid system. By sheer tenacity, he guided his people towards freedom and dignity.

The first black president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela governed with wisdom and integrity for unity and reconciliation. His battle against racism and for freedom went beyond the borders of his country to acquire a global dimension.

It is therefore with respect and humility that I bow to the memory of this extraordinary man, who will long be a source of inspiration for the whole of mankind./.

Death of Nelson Mandela – Statement by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Paris, 5 December 2013

With Nelson Mandela, we mourn the passing of the father of South Africa, the pillar of the struggle for regained freedom and and for reconciliation.

Universally admired, he gave the word “humanity” its full meaning. I personally admired him all the more as the fight against apartheid has been one of the major, steadfast commitments of my life.

I wish to pay tribute to the towering charismatic leader who has left us, and I extend to his family, his friends, his country, my very deep condolences."

Published on 06/12/2013

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