Indonesian senior minister attends memorial service for Mandela

Indonesian senior minister attends memorial service for Mandela

Nelson Mandela wearing a batik shirt (REUTERS)

Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare Agung Laksono said he wore a traditional Indonesian batik shirt to attend the ceremony because Nelson Mandela was one of the world leaders who often wore batik.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhyono has sent a senior minister to attend the memorial service on Tuesday for Nelson Mandela at the FNB stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa.

"I represent the Indonesian government and the people of Indonesia in paying tribute to Nelson Mandela," Coordinating Minister for Peoples Welfare Agung Laksono said, when contacted by ANTARA here on Tuesday.

Agung said he wore a traditional Indonesian batik shirt to attend the ceremony.

"I wore batik because Nelson Mandela was one of the world leaders who often wore batik," he added.

He pointed out that Mandela also admired Indonesian batik prints.

Agung said President Yudhoyono had sent him to attend the ceremony in view of Indonesias deep ties with Nelson Mandela.

"Nelson Mandela always maintained good relations with Indonesia. By sending me, the president wishes to show the countrys highest respect for Mandela," he noted.

Agung said the South African government had requested world leaders to attend the memorial service at Johannesburg, instead of the funeral at Qunu in the Eastern Cape province on December 15.

After the memorial service, Mandelas body will lie in state at the Union building in Pretoria for three days starting from Wednesday.

On December 15, a burial ceremony will be held at Mandelas home and at the cemetery in Qunu, Eastern Cape province.

The former South African president and freedom fighter died on December 5, after succumbing to lung infection in Johannesburg at the age of 95.(*)

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