- Ex U.S. president and deputy prime minister engaged in animated chat
- Mr Miliband appears to glare as pair shake hands at Mandela’s memorial
- He tweets later that ceremony had been a ‘moving and uplifting occasion’
If he was feeling somewhat sidelined, Ed Miliband appeared to do little to hide it. The Labour leader was pictured casting an icy glare towards Nick Clegg as the deputy prime minister enjoyed a warm handshake with former U.S. President Bill Clinton at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.
As he took his seat, he continued to looked miffed, once again glancing over as the pair engaged in animated conversation.
But it did not appear to spoil the sense of occasion for Mr Miliband, who tweeted after the ceremony: ‘Leaving the Mandela memorial service. A unique occasion, inspiring, moving and uplifting.’
Mr Miliband, who apparently missed the start of the service after getting stuck in traffic, was among an eclectic mix of world politicians including President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro who gathered at the FNB stadium to pay homage to the late South African President.
Mr Obama led the tributes by calling Mr Mandela a ‘giant of history’.
The U.S. President compared Mr Mandela’s actions to those of Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln and US civil rights leader Martin Luther King but also warned against viewing Mr Mandela as detached from normal life.
‘He was not a bust made of marble, he was a man made of flesh and blood,’ he told the crowds in the stadium including leaders from more than 90 countries gathered at the stadium
Mr Obama further singled out world leaders who have publicly welcomed gains made by Mr Mandela but resist reforms to tackle inequality and injustice.
‘Around the world today we still see children suffering from hunger and disease and we still still see run down schools and we see young people without prospects for the future,’ he said.
‘Around the world today men and women are still imprisoned for their political beliefs and are still persecuted for what they look like and how they worship and who they are, that is happening today.
‘There are too many people who happily embrace Madiba’s (Mandela’s) legacy of racial reconciliation but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality.
‘There are too many leaders who claim solidarity with Madiba’s struggle for freedom but do not tolerate dissent from their own people.
‘There are too many of us on the sidelines comfortable in complacency or cynicism.’
The U.S. President, who moments earlier had shaken hands with Cuba’s Raul Castro in a historic moment of reconciliation, received a rapturous reception for his eulogy at the service in Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium, which started an hour late in the pouring rain.
Police were expecting a crushing crowd at FNB stadium and had set up overflow points with big screen TVs, but the foul weather and public transportation problems rain kept many people away.
The 95,000-capacity stadium was only two-thirds full.
Source : Daily mail