US drop Mandela from terror list

July 01 2008 at 08:00PM

Washington - President George Bush has removed former South African
president Nelson Mandela and his African National Congress from the
United States terror watch list, the White House said Tuesday.

The bill was sent to the White House last week and signed in time for
the anti-apartheid leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner's 90th birthday
on July 18.

"Today the United States moved closer at last to removing the great
shame of dishonouring this great leader by including him on our
government's terror watch list," Senator John Kerry said after the bill
was approved Friday.

When a similar bill passed the House of Representatives last month,
Barbara Lee, a California Democrat who co-sponsored it, said she was
"especially pleased we are taking this important step to finally right
this inexcusable wrong."

Lee and others said the legislation introduced during the 1980s while
Ronald Reagan was president was anachronistic and wrongfully labelled as
heroes and freedom fighters as terrorists.

Lee recalled that under the legislation the ANC could travel to United
Nations headquarters in New York but not to Washington, DC, or other
parts of the United States.

In April, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged a Senate
committee to remove the restrictions on the ANC party, calling it a
"rather embarrassing matter that I still have to waive in my own
counterpart, the foreign minister of South Africa, not to mention the
great leader Nelson Mandela." - Sapa-AFP


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