Gaddafi comes in from the cold

NELSON MANDELA is set to use his last few days as president of South Africa to ease the return into the diplomatic mainstream of his long-time friend, the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

Allegations of Libyan involvement in the Lockerbie air disaster and other terrorist incidents have seen the country branded as a pariah nation, a reputation which it is only now beginning to shake off.

Col. Gaddafi will visit South Africa, his first foreign trip since sanctions were lifted, apart from a short trip to neighbouring Egypt. President Mandela, who will hand power to Thabo Mbeki on 16 June, said he expected Col. Gaddafi to visit within the next 10 days.

Long-ostracised by the West, which has blamed him for sponsoring international terrorism, the Libyan leader is expected to attend the inauguration, along with African leaders and the British deputy prime minister, John Prescott, en route to a major summit in Zambia aimed at ending the 10-month-old war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

President Mandela, who was instrumental to the April handover to the Dutch authorities of two Libyan suspects in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, had lunch with Gaddafi's wife and two of the couple's daughters. He reiterated his gratitude for Libya's support to the ANC in its fight against apartheid, adding: "Those who feel irritated by our friendship with President Gaddafi can go and jump in a pool." During Libya's time as a pariah state - which formally ended in April with the scrapping of the air embargo against the north African country - President Mandela, 80, frequently irritated Western diplomats by restating his fondness for the Libyan dictator.

President Mandela's appearance yesterday was his first since voting last Wednesday. Even though not all 16 million votes have been verified, it appears that the ANC will fall between one and five seats short of a two-thirds majority in the national assembly. With two-thirds of seats (66.6pc) , the ANC government would be able to change some clauses in the constitution, though fundamental alterations require the endorsement of 75 per cent of the national assembly's 400 MPs. President Mandela said: "Concern that a two-thirds majority will be abused by the ANC flies in the face of the facts of history. No one can say we abused our majority.''

In the provincial election in KwaZulu-Natal, the Inkatha Freedom Party appeared to have pulled ahead of the ANC, giving its leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi added leverage in his campaign to become national deputy president.

Last night, the ANC's score stood at 66.4 per cent and the runner-up looked set to be the Democratic Party, on 9.57pc. Nationally, the IFP stood on 8.53pc, followed by the NNP - the old aparthied party - on 6.9pc.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
football
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Qualified Primary Teaching Assistant

£64 - £73 per day + Competitive rates based on experience : Randstad Education...

Primary KS2 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Primary NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Primary NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam