Mugabe shouldn’t attend summit, says minister

PORTUGUESE FOREIGN Minister Luís Amado has admitted that he would rather Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe didn’t attend the forthcoming EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon.

He told journalists that “if someone were to ask me if I wanted Robert Mugabe in Lisbon, I would have to say no.”

Firm message

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has already said that if Mugabe attends the summit on December 8 and 9 at the Parque das Nações, then he won’t be attending because of the “appalling violation of human rights going on in that country.”

The Portuguese government, which holds the rotating Presidency of the European Union until the end of December, is in a tricky position because many African states have said if Mugabe isn’t invited they too won’t go.

“We don’t yet know who is going to attend and who isn’t, but I’d prefer it if he (Robert Mugabe) didn’t attend, because, in my opinion, he’ll create a lot of noise that will distract attention from the real issues that are up for discussion,” said Luís Amado at the launch ceremony of a branch of AICEP Portugal Global in Singapore.

However, the Portuguese Presidency has issued an official invitation to Robert Mugabe for protocol reasons but the foreign minister stressed that he would use the summit as an opportunity to deliver a “firm and clear message to Mugabe about the human rights situation in Zimbabwe” should he attend.

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