Obama shakes hand of Cuba's Raul Castro at Mandela memorial

JOHANNESBURG Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:35am EST

U.S. President Barack Obama (back L) and his wife, first lady Michelle Obama look at the official program booklet during the memorial service for late South African President Nelson Mandela at the First National Bank stadium, also known as Soccer City, in Johannesburg December 10, 2013. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

U.S. President Barack Obama (back L) and his wife, first lady Michelle Obama look at the official program booklet during the memorial service for late South African President Nelson Mandela at the First National Bank stadium, also known as Soccer City, in Johannesburg December 10, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama shook the hand of Cuban President Raul Castro at a memorial to Nelson Mandela on Tuesday, an unprecedented gesture between the leaders of two nations which have been at loggerheads for more than half a century.

Castro smiled as Obama shook his hand on the way to the podium to make a speech at the commemoration for former South African President Mandela, one of the world's greatest peacemakers who died on Thursday.

(Reporting by Pascal Fletcher and Ed Cropley)

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