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Mandela: SA's greatest son laid to rest (slideshow)
The world watched as Nelson Mandela was finally laid to rest in his hometown of Qunu following a dignified and moving funeral ceremony on Sunday.
Former South African leader Nelson Mandela has claimed the backing of key Arab leaders for a three-point Middle East peace plan.
Mandela told the Sunday Independent in a telephone interview that his plan, unveiled during a five-country visit to the Middle East last week, had won the backing of Syrian President Hafez al Assad, PLO leader Yasser Arafat and other Arab leaders.
"I also telephoned British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. They were all happy about the plan," Mandela said.
He said he had discussed his proposals with Israeli President Ezer Weizman and Prime Minister Ehud Barak before he travelled to the United States to meet President Bill Clinton, but had yet to receive a response.
"Both of them are very good people. They face a lot of opposition from within their own ranks," Mandela said.
The former president said he planned to return to the United States next month to pursue the initiative. Clinton, Barak and Arafat are due to meet in Oslo on Tuesday.
But Mandela said a small group of extremists opposed to the peace initiative were trying to smear him to discredit the plan.
In a statement released by his lawyers, Mandela, 81, denied reports this week that he had bought a home in Cape Town for Libyan leader Moamer Gadaffi and that he had received a large amount of money from Libya to pay for the trial of his former wife Winnie.
"These stories are totally without foundation and false and appear to have a single-minded objective, and that is to derail the peace process in the Middle East," Mandela said in a statement issued by his lawyer Ismail Ayob on Saturday. -- AFP