Dutch oppose Mugabe's presence at summit

30th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

30 October 2007, THE HAGUE (AFP) - The Netherlands said Tuesday it would be opposed to the presence of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe at the EU-Africa summit in December in Lisbon, the Dutch foreign ministry told AFP.

30 October 2007

THE HAGUE (AFP) - The Netherlands said Tuesday it would be opposed to the presence of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe at the EU-Africa summit in December in Lisbon, the Dutch foreign ministry told AFP.

"Mr. Mugabe's presence at the Europe-Africa summit would not be totally desirable," Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman Bart Rijs said.

"We approached Portugal, currently holding the EU presidency, in order to find a solution. If it turns out that a representative from Zimbabwe will be present, then the European Union must address at length the subject of the situation of human rights" in the country with him, he added.

Asked about an eventual boycott by The Netherlands at the summit if Mugabe is invited by Portugal, Rijs refused to clarify, saying that it "will then be time to formulate our point of view."

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown reiterated last week that his country would not participate in the summit if Mugabe came.

"We cannot sit down at the same table as President Mugabe," he said, accusing the regime of human rights violations. "We're not prepared to give any credence or credibility to someone who has so ruthlessly destroyed human rights in his country."

A number of European countries have refused to meet Mugabe because of the human rights abuses.

Portugal's Foreign Minister Luis Amado, whose country currently has the EU's rotating presidency, said that the guest list would be finalized by the end of October.

If Mugabe did attend the summit, it would be in breach of an EU travel ban.

[Copyright AFP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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