US President Barak Obama will travel to South Africa next week to attend the funeral service of world icon Nelson Mandela, the White House said Friday.
"President Obama and the First Lady will go to South Africa next week to pay their respects to the memory of Nelson Mandela and to participate in memorial events," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
However Carney did not could not disclose whether Obama would attend a large memorial service on Dec. 10 or a private burial service on Dec. 15, or both.
"We'll have further updates on timing and logistics as they become available," Carney said.
The services are included in a ten-day mourning period in South Africa, where Mandela waged a successful battle against the country's apartheid government and became its first black president.
Obama has directed that American flags be lowered to half-staff through Monday in honor of the freedom fighter who died Thursday at age 95.
In a brief eulogy on Thursday, Obama -- the first African-American president in U.S. history -- said that "I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life."
Obama issued a written proclamation saying that "the United States has lost a close friend, South Africa has lost an incomparable liberator, and the world has lost an inspiration for freedom, justice, and human dignity -- Nelson Mandela is no longer with us, he belongs to the ages."
Mandela "transformed South Africa -- and moved the entire world," Obama wrote. "His journey from a prisoner to a President embodied the promise that human beings -- and countries -- can change for the better."
The resolution said: "While we mourn his loss, we will forever honor Nelson Mandela's memory. He left behind a South Africa that is free."