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Cameron urged to boycott Mugabe

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CAPE TOWN — British MP Kate Hoey has reportedly urged British Prime Minister David Cameron to boycott the upcoming summit between Africa and the European Union after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was invited to attend.

According to The Telegraph, Cameron faced a dilemma over whether to attend the two-day summit scheduled to take place in Brussels, Belgium, in April.

EU ambassador Aldo Dell’Ariccia last week confirmed that Mugabe had been invited to attend the summit along with other Africa leaders.

The invitation came despite the Zimbabwean leader being officially banned from visiting any EU member state.

Mugabe is accused of presiding over serious human rights abuses in his country. Dell’Ariccia, however made it clear that Mugabe’s attendance did not signal a softening of the EU position on targeted measures imposed on Zimbabwe, nor did it suggest the measures have been ineffective.

He said there were international laws that needed to be respected and these made exceptions for heads of state that were on targeted sanctions lists to be allowed to attend such summits and other functions. The summit is expected to focus on strategic priorities under the Joint Africa-EU Strategy. The strategy seeks to enhance political co-operation and partnerships at all levels.

Former British prime minister Gordon Brown boycotted an earlier EU-Africa summit attended by Mugabe in Lisbon in 2007. He also ruled that no British minister would be present.

Downing Street has, however, reportedly declined to say whether Cameron would stay away from the conference, the report said.

Hoey, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on Zimbabwe, urged Cameron to boycott, saying the prime minister should “follow the principled lead of his predecessor Gordon Brown”.

— News24

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