South African black leader Nelson Mandela arrived in Botswana on the start of a 45-day foreign tour Monday, warning that lifting sanctions against South Africa now "would be tantamount to stabbing the liberation struggle in the back."
Kicking off a tour of Europe, Canada, the United States and Africa, Mandela set the tone for his most extensive foreign trip since his February release from 27 years' imprisonment by saying continued economic sanctions would help force an end to South Africa's institutionalized system of race segregation.
The 71-year-old leader of the African National Congress and his wife, Winnie, received a red-carpet welcome from President Quett Masire.
Mandela addressed a crowd of 15,000 at the national stadium. He appeared fit after a six-day medical examination and surgery for the removal of a cyst on his bladder.
Mandela is scheduled to depart today for Lusaka, Zambia, and then for Paris.