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Mandela Honors Arafat As Great Freedom Fighter
Mandela said it deeply saddened him that Arafat had died before "his and his people's dream" of a Palestinian state had been realised.
He hoped that efforts to find lasting peace in the Middle East would be "doubled on both sides".
Mandela called Arafat "an icon in the proper sense of the word".
"He was not only concerned about the liberation of the Arab people, but of all the oppressed people throughout the world ... To lose a man of that stature and thinking is the greatest loss to all those fighting oppression," he said.
South Africa's hero of the anti-apartheid struggle Nelson Mandela on Thursday expressed sadness following the death of Yasser Arafat and described the Palestinian leader as "one of the outstanding freedom fighters of this generation".
Arafat died in the early hours on Thursday in a French military hospital close to Paris after slipping into a coma in the middle of last week. He was 75.
"Yasser Arafat was one of the outstanding freedom fighters of this generation, one who gave his entire life to the cause of the Palestinian people," Mandela said in a statement.