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Friday, September 4, 1998 Published at 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK

World: Africa

Castro's state visit to South Africa

The Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, has been warmly welcomed by President Nelson Mandela at the start of his two-day state visit to South Africa.

Mr Mandela told a group of well-wishers at a ceremony in Cape Town that Mr Castro was one of his greatest friends.

The Cuban leader later told parliament that there were still two South Africas -- one rich and the other poor.

But he said he did not want to stir up discontent among those who had not yet won equal opportunities, adding that many countries shared South Africa's problems.

The governing African National Congress has expressed gratitude for Cuba's support during the apartheid era, but there's been condemnation of Mr Castro's visit from some opposition parties.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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