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Salmond tells of Scotland's pride over links to former president

ALEX Salmond has written to the South African president to express Scotland's sadness at the death of Nelson Mandela.

Tributes poured in from across the country when his death was announced on Thursday and flags were flown at half-mast across Scotland, including at the Scottish Parliament and in Glasgow, the first place in the world to grant Mr Mandela a Freedom of the City award.

It was bestowed upon him in 1981 while he was imprisoned on Robben Island.

The city continued to mark its support for the campaign to free him in 1986 when it renamed St George's Place as Nelson Mandela Place in his honour.

In a letter to President Jacob Zuma, Mr Salmond wrote: "On behalf of the Government and people of Scotland it is with sadness that I write extending our condolences to the South African people on the passing of Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela was one of the most remarkable people of the 20th century. With his passing the world has lost a towering statesman and the outstanding political leader of his generation.

"His integrity, humanity and compassion were an inspiration to countless millions."

The First Minister added: "In Scotland we are proud that Nelson Mandela had a long­standing commitment to and friendship with our country. Those links with Scotland were underlined by his being granted the Freedom of the City of Glasgow. The world is a poorer place for his passing, and our thoughts are with Mr Mandela's family and the people of South Africa at this time.

"This weekend our national flag, the Saltire, flies at half-mast, alongside the national flag of South Africa, as a mark of our respect to Madiba."

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