African leaders meeting in Paris for a summit Friday are holding a moment of silence to mark the passing of Nelson Mandela, a leader who inspired many of them.

Mandela died Thursday, just as leaders from nearly every country in Africa were gathering for a summit on how Africans could take a more active role in bringing peace and security to the troubled continent. It was a cause that was dear to Mandela, who was often involved in brokering peace deals in African conflicts.

"He is comparable to a great baobab — this invincible tree under which everyone shelters," said Guinee President Alpha Conde. "And when this baobab falls, we find ourselves exposed."


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