POLITICS
06/29/2013 09:24 am ET | Updated Jun 29, 2013

Obama Meets Privately With Nelson Mandela's Family, Will Not Visit Hospital

AP

BY JULIE PACE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama met privately Saturday with the family of Nelson Mandela.

The meeting was held in Johannesburg at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, which is part of the former South African president's foundation.

It lasted for about a half hour, enough time for a small crowd to gather outside in time for Obama's departure.

The White House didn't say which Mandela family members the Obamas met with.

The president and first lady will not meet with the ailing 94-year-old Mandela, who is hospitalized with a lung infection. The White House says that decision was made in accordance with the wishes of Mandela's family.

Per a pool report, Obama released the following statement after the meeting:

Today I had the privilege of meeting with members of the Mandela family at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa, and spoke by telephone with Mrs. Graça Machel, who remained by her husband's side in the hospital in Pretoria. I expressed my hope that Madiba draws peace and comfort from the time that he is spending with loved ones, and also expressed my heartfelt support for the entire family as they work through this difficult time. I also reaffirmed the profound impact that his legacy has had in building a free South Africa, and in inspiring people around the world - including me. That's a legacy that we must all honor in our own lives, including this July on Mandela Day.

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