Political
KUTV.com | Stories - Obama Heads to South Africa as Ailing Nelson Mandela Clings to Life
Friday, June 28 2013, 09:46 AM MDT
Obama Heads to South Africa as Ailing Nelson Mandela Clings to Life
(CNN) -- U.S. President Barack Obama headed to South Africa on Friday for the second leg of a trip overshadowed by the deteriorating health of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.

Obama did not appear to rule out a visit to see the ailing former president, but said he will leave it up to the family.

"We'll see what the situation is when we land," he said en route to Johannesburg. "I don't need a photo op, and the last thing I want to do is to be in any way obtrusive at a time when the family is concerned with Nelson Mandela's condition."

The president left the United States on Wednesday for Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania -- his second visit to sub-Saharan Africa since taking office.

The trip aims to bolster African investment opportunities for U.S. businesses, address development issues such as food security and health, and promote democracy. It comes as China aggressively engages the continent, pouring billions of dollars into it and replacing the United States as Africa's largest trading partner.

During his last day in Dakar, Senegal, Obama attended a food security session, where he met with farmers and innovators whose technologies are bolstering the lives of regional farmers.

"I know that millet and maize and fertilizer doesn't always make for sexy copy, but ... I think if the American people knew the kind of work that is being done as a consequence of their generosity and their efforts, I think they would be very proud," he said.

The event in the Senegalese capital Friday was his last before he jetted off to South Africa.

Mandela's condition

Mandela is clinging to life at a hospital in Pretoria, an issue weighing heavily in the continent, where he retains massive popularity despite his retirement from public life.

His condition has improved, but his health remains delicate, said his ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

"I can say that from what he was a few days ago, there is great improvement, but clinically he is still unwell," she told reporters.

Mandela became an international figure while enduring 27 years in prison for fighting apartheid, South Africa's system of racial segregation. He was elected the nation's first black president in 1994, four years after he was freed.

Even as he has faded from the spotlight, he remains popular worldwide.

Mandela, the U.S. president said, is a hero to him and many others.

"If and when he passes from this place, one thing I think we'll all know is that his legacy is one that will linger on throughout the ages," Obama said.

He said he had read Mandela's writings and speeches, and understood "that this was somebody who believed in that basic principle I just talked about -- treating people equally -- and was willing to sacrifice his life for that belief."

Obama's visit to South Africa will include a stop at Robben Island, where Mandela spent a majority of his decades in prison. The White House schedule does not include a visit with the anti-apartheid icon.

Senegal visit

During a news conference Thursday in Dakar, Obama called on countries worldwide to decriminalize homosexuality, a day after the U.S. Supreme Court handed a major victory to proponents of same-sex marriage by striking down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Every group of people has a right to its own views, Obama said.

"But when it comes to how the state treats people -- how the law treats people -- I believe that everybody has to be treated equal," he said.

The remarks came in response to a question from CNN's Jessica Yellin on whether Obama was pressing his Senegalese counterpart on the issue. Homosexuality is illegal in Senegal.

"Senegal is a very tolerant country which does not discriminate in terms of inalienable rights of human beings," Senegalese President Macky Sall said. "People are not refused jobs for being gay," he said. "But we are still not ready to decriminalize homosexuality."

In Senegal, Obama also visited Goree Island, which once served as a strategic post in the transatlantic slave trade.

Obama will spend the weekend in South Africa and then head to Tanzania, his last stop before returning to Washington next week.
Obama Heads to South Africa as Ailing Nelson Mandela Clings to Life

News Photos & Videos - Submit Your Photos Here


More Political Stories

Kansas Speech by Michelle Obama Draws Complaints
Baucus Casts Wide Shadow Over Montana Senate Race
Spokeswoman: Sebelius Not Considering US Senate
Obama Praises Biden, But Doesn't Endorse for 2016
Chris Christie, Prosecutor Appear at Same Event
Prop 8 Lawyer's Views on Gay Marriage Evolving
Arkansas Voter ID Law Challenged in Court by ACLU
Defend 'Obamacare' Unabashedly, Some Democrats Say
Mitt Romney Stars in Campaign Ad
Landrieu Faces Her Toughest Political Storm to Stay in Senate
Big Bucks an Indicator of Outside Groups' Influence
Sen. Ted Cruz: Too Early to Worry About 2016
Obama, Biden to Announce Millions for Job Rraining
House Democrats' Committee Sitting on $40M Fund
Feds Charge Woman in Hillary Clinton Shoe-Throw
Landrieu Touts Fight for Oil and Gas Jobs in New Ad
These Races Will Determine Control of the Senate
Michelle Obama -- and First Dogs -- Visit Military Families on Walter Reed Campus
Will Chelsea Clinton go Into The Family Business?
US Senator McCain Mocks EU's Russia Sanctions
Rand Paul: Hillary Clinton 'as Bad or Worse' Than President Obama on Government Surveillance
2016 Watch: O'Malley Heads to Nevada
First on CNN: Christie's Interview with Investigators
Obama Marks Holy Week, Reflects on Kansas Shooting
Hillary Clinton to Address International Jewish Group
2 Congressmen Have Questions in Jill Kelley Leak
Paul Ryan to Iowa GOP: Give up 'Infighting' for Lent
Sebelius' Resignation and the Politics of Obamacare
Occupy activist's police-assault trial opens in NY
GOP Blocks 'Paycheck Fairness' Bill in Senate
Democrats Top GOP Last Month in Senate Cash Battle
Political Drama "Camp David" Chronicles Messy Path to Peace
Hagel: Russia Causing Itself Long-Term Harm With Ukraine Steps
Bill Clinton on Snowden: An 'Imperfect Messenger'
First on CNN: Graham Opponent Has Impressive Fundraising Haul
Army's Ban on Deadlocks; Other Styles Seen as Offensive to Some African-Americans
Sharpton Denies Any Wrongdoing in FBI Informant Role
Alan Gross, Held in Cuba for Four Years, Launches Hunger Strike
Husband on Kissing Congressman: 'He Has Wrecked my Life'
Farewell, Archie: Beloved Comic Book Character to Die
U.S. Navy Ship to Arrive in Black Sea by Thursday
Huckabee Back in Iowa
Many Doubt 1964 Civil Rights Act Could Pass Today
Pelosi: Cheney is 'Proud' of Bush-era CIA That Misled Public
Democrats Highlight Equal Pay in Political Push
Justices Reject Review of Case Concerning Religious Liberty in The Marketplace
Brown to Formally Jump Into Senate Race
Obamas to Attend Fort Hood Memorial
Ted Kennedy Jr. to Run For Connecticut Senate
Poll: Rate of Uninsured Americans Drops
Inside Politics: Democrats' Good Week
Oops Moment For Senator: He Shows Up at Wrong Hearing
Clinton and Lagarde High Five Female Political Power
Democratic Governors Raise $12.5M in Last 3 Months
Republican Candidate in Georgia Uses Obama in Ad
Seven Key Dates in The Seven Months Leading Up to The Midterms
Chris Christie: The $33 Million Man
Fallon, Dressed as Putin, Calls Palin
Bill Clinton "Wouldn't be Surprised" by an Alien Visit
Senate Panel Set to Vote to Declassify Aspects of CIA Report
Advertise with us!

Washington Times

Washington TimesThe Washington Times - Politics, Breaking News, US and World News.

Click Here for more!


 


Advertise with us!