POLITICS
12/06/2013 02:10 pm ET | Updated Feb 05, 2014

Obama Traveling To South Africa For Mandela Memorial

Alex Wong via Getty Images

(Adds more Carney comments)

WASHINGTON, Dec 6 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will travel to South Africa next week to participate in memorial events for Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who died on Thursday.

Obama's exact schedule was as yet unclear, the White House said. It was not yet known whether Obama would give public remarks while in South Africa.

"President Obama and the first lady will go to South Africa next week to pay their respects to the memory of Nelson Mandela and to participate in memorial events. We'll have further updates on timing and logistics as they become available," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.

Obama, speaking Thursday night shortly after Mandela's death at age 95 was announced, said he was one of the "countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life."

Obama, America's first black president, also said the first political action he ever took as a young man was attending a protest against apartheid.

Carney, at his daily news briefing, said Obama and Mandela last spoke in 2010 or 2011 and that they also spoke when Obama won his first election as president, in 2008.

He had no details on who might be in the U.S. delegation traveling with Obama, including whether former U.S. presidents might go with him.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Steve Holland; Editing by Vicki Allen and Eric Beech)

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