BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman and other leading Lebanese political figures offered condolences over the loss of South Africa’s Nelson Mandela Friday.
“In my name and on behalf of the Lebanese people, I offer you my heartfelt condolences ... and in the hope that his memory will stay alive in the pages of our modern history,” Sleiman said in a letter to South African President Jacob Zuma.
“I received with sadness the news of the death of the historic leader and former president of your friendly country Nelson Mandela who inspired the world with his path, fighting to eliminate racism and poverty to achieve equality and reconciliation among his people,” he added.
Sleiman said that with the passing of Mandela, the world had lost a man who believed in humane principles regardless of race, color or affiliation.
Mandela, the first black South African president who led the reconciliation efforts in his country after the collapse of the apartheid regime, passed away late Thursday aged 95.
He had fought a long battle with a lung infection.
Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Speaker Nabih Berri also sent letters to Zuma offering their condolences.
In his letter, Berri said “Mandela was a global icon who taught the world that bravery, dignity, humility and forgiveness can surpass adversity.”
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri also paid tribute to Mandela saying that the late president demonstrated that a diverse society could become a successful model of democracy.
“He proved that a society with all these racial and religious differences and this violent heritage can become a successful pluralistic democracy,” Hariri said, according to a statement from his office.
Head of Hezbollah's International Relations Department Ammar Musawi expressed his condolences over the loss of Mandela's during a meeting with South African Ambassador Sean Penny.
Penny, for his part, offered his government’s condolences over the recent assassination of a Hezbollah commander south of Beirut.