Washington, June 28 : Former South African president Nelson Mandela and his African National Congress have been removed from the U.S. terror watch list.
Senator John Kerry of the U.S. Senate said that the decision to erase Mandela and the African National Congress's name from the list was one more step forward to "removing the great shame of dishonouring this great leader by including him on our government's terror watch list."
President George W. Bush is noe expected to sign a bill certifying this move. It is hoped that signing will take place before the Nobel Peace Prize winner's 90th birthday on July 18.
"Nelson Mandela does not belong on a terrorist watch list - period. The Senate's vote today will help fix a problem that has caused injustice to South African leaders and embarrassment to the United States," said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had urged a Senate committee in April to remove the restrictions on the ANC party, calling it a "rather embarrassing matter that I still have to waive in my own counterpart, the foreign minister of South Africa, not to mention the great leader Nelson Mandela."
A similar bill was also passed in the House of Representatives.
Barbara Lee, a California Democrat who co-sponsored the House version, said last month she was "especially pleased we are taking this important step to finally right this inexcusable wrong."