Czech foreign minister to attend memorial service for Nelson Mandela

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout will travel to South Africa to attend Tuesday’s memorial service for the late president Nelson Mandela, the ministry’s spokeswoman said on Sunday. From there the Czech foreign minister will travel to Pretoria to pay homage to the former South African leader. The Czech Republic will have no official representative at the state funeral to be held in a week’s time.

The announcement came shortly after an embarrassing incident in which the outgoing prime minister, Jiri Rusnok, was caught on tape telling other cabinet members that he had no wish to travel all the way to South Africa for the funeral and hoped the president might want to go instead. He later apologized for his words saying he was under great stress and his work load was excessive.