WASHINGTON – Former U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush will join President Obama among the dignitaries attending memorial events for former South African leader Nelson Mandela.
Bush, 67, and former first lady Laura Bush, 67, “have gratefully accepted the President’s and Mrs. Obama’s invitation to accompany them to South Africa on Air Force One and attend President Nelson Mandela’s memorial services next week,” said Freddy Ford, a spokesman for the former president.
Clinton, 67, also plans to attend, spokesman Matt McKenna said. He said that he didn’t have details on how Clinton would travel. Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, 66, also will attend, said her spokesman, Nick Merrill.
Carter, 89, will travel to the memorial events as part of a delegation of The Elders organization, a spokeswoman for the former president said Saturday. The international group was brought together by Mandela in 2007 to promote peace and human rights, according to the organization’s website.
Former President George H.W. Bush, also 89, won’t be able to make the trip, spokesman Jim McGrath said in an e-mail.
Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will travel to South Africa next week, though the schedule hasn’t been set, White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
A memorial service will be held at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday. Mandela’s body will lie in state from Wednesday to Friday at the government’s executive headquarters in the Union Buildings in the capital, Pretoria, followed by a state funeral.