UN endorses Mandela Day

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pretoria - The United Nations will hold a special session on 18 July, to mark Nelson Mandela International Day.

UN Chief Ban Ki Moon and International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane are expected to address the session.

"We would like to express our gratitude to the UN for endorsing this day. We urge people to ensure that they observe Mandela Day everyday - contributing to the global movement for good," International Relations DG, Ayanda Ntsaluba said on Thursday.

Mandela Day is particularly geared towards people doing community work which is not event driven. Mandela spent 67 years of his life actively devoted to promoting and bringing about social change, and on the day to celebrate his birthday, people are asked to symbolically give at least 67 minutes of their time in service to their communities in whichever way they choose.

Briefing the media on other current international issues, Ntsaluba announced that President Jacob Zuma would pay a state visit to Russia at the beginning of August.

He said South Africa regards Russia as a strategic partner with whom the country shared close bilateral and multilateral ties.

Meanwhile, the South African government has expressed regret on the reported tensions in Burundi and appealed for calm.

Presidential polls, which closed on Wednesday in that country, were marred by grenade attacks and an opposition boycott.

He called on Burundi's politicians to learn from the country's past which was ravaged by civil war. "They must be responsible and ensure that their country gets out of the quagmire that it has been steeped into for a long time," he said.

South Africa was also monitoring election results in Guinea. Officials there extended the deadline to announce provisional results of the 27 June elections.

Under Guinea's constitution, the electoral body was required to announce provisional results within 72 hours, which expired last Wednesday.

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