France does not invite Mugabe to summit

14th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 13, 2007 (AFP) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has not been invited to attend an Africa-France summit this week, marking a shift from the last meeting when he was welcomed, the French presidency said Tuesday.

PARIS, Feb 13, 2007 (AFP) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has not been invited to attend an Africa-France summit this week, marking a shift from the last meeting when he was welcomed, the French presidency said Tuesday.

Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since its independence in 1980, attended the last Africa-France summit hosted by France in 2003 despite criticism from Britain.

"We tried to find a way so that Zimbabwe, which is an important country in the region and on the continent, could be present in accordance with European Union rules but the discussions were inconclusive," said presidential spokesman Jerome Bonnafont.

Mugabe and members of his inner circle are under targeted EU sanctions including a travel ban imposed in 2002 after the Zimbabwean leader won elections that international observers said were rigged.

Leaders from 48 African countries will be attending the two-day summit opening Thursday in Cannes which is to focus on the theme of "Africa and the world balance."

The gathering is seen as an opportunity for Chirac, who is expected to announce soon that he will not be running for a third term, to bid farewell to Africa.

Other than Mugabe, South African President Thabo Mbeki is staying home to attend a national executive meeting of his governing African National Congress.

Ivorian leader Laurent Gbagbo, whose relations with Chirac have soured over the stalled peace effort in the west African country, is also a no-show.

Libya and Rwanda have decided not to send a representative to the gathering, said the spokesman.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, Africa-France summit

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