BEIRUT: Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati joined the world leaders Tuesday to pay tribute to late President Nelson Mandela who passed away last week, a statement from Mikati’s office said.
Mikati, who arrived in Johannesburg Monday, represented Lebanon at the memorial service for Mandela, the statement said.
In a chat with reporters, Mikati described Mandela as a “remarkable example of the struggle for freedom.”
“Mandela succeeded in turning the regime in his country from a racist to a democratic one,” he said.
“Mandela will always be remembered as a person who sacrificed most of his life to provide a better future for millions of people,” Mikati added.
Mikati also recalled that Mandela played a remarkable role in supporting the cause of Arab countries and calling for the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
“The world will miss the freedom icon,” he said.
More than 50 heads of state and government officials took part in the ceremony to pay their respects to Mandela.
Mandela, South Africa’s first black president led the reconciliation efforts in his country after the collapse of the apartheid regime.
He died last week at age 95 after a long battle against a lung infection.
Mikati met on Monday with members of the Lebanese community in South Africa and hailed the unity among them. He also praised the community for maintaining ties with their home country, Lebanon.