Tony Blair and Nelson Mandela at the Labour Party conference
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Mandela death: Former president 'taught me a lot', says Blair

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has praised Nelson Mandela as "remarkable" in both his actions and the way he conducted himself.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said South Africa's first black president, who has died at the age of 95, acted "with such a sense of dignity and a bigness of character that people everywhere drew inspiration from that".

Mr Blair also said Mr Mandela "taught [him] a lot" about reconciliation during the Northern Ireland peace process, and revealed that despite differences in opinion with the anti-apartheid icon over the British government's dealings in Iraq and Kosovo, Mr Mandela never allowed this to affect their "personal relationship".

He said Mr Mandela "came to represent something that was much more than just about the resolution of the issues of apartheid and South Africa.

"He came to represent something quite inspirational for the future of the world".

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Friday 6 December 2013.

  • 06 Dec 2013