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AU, Portugal rally behind Zimbabwe
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08:07, July 05, 2007

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The African Union and Portugal have thrown their weight behind Zimbabwe's participation at the forthcoming EU-Africa Summit set for December in Lisbon, the official The Herald reported on Wednesday.

A top Portuguese official stressed that the dispute between Zimbabwe and Britain was merely bilateral and should never be allowed to scupper the summit, according to the newspaper.

Jorge Roza de Oliveira, principal diplomatic advisor to the Portuguese prime minister, reportedly approached the Zimbabwean delegation in Accra and told them that he had come to the Summit to get Africa's position over Zimbabwe's participation.

He said the AU had reiterated its position that the Summit would be held on the basis of the EU engaging Africa on a continental basis, and not on a Africa minus one basis.

De Oliveira said while Portugal understands the EU position over Zimbabwe, Lisbon's position was that the dispute was bilateral and should never be allowed to scupper the summit that has been postponed several times since 2003 as Africa refused to accede to the EU's demands to exclude Zimbabwe.

Ghana's foreign minister Nana Akufo-Addo, whose country holds the AU presidency, recently told the EU in Brussels that if there was to be a summit, Zimbabwe would attend represented either by the President or any of his representatives.

The AU position puts paid to claims in certain sections of the Western media that claimed President Mugabe had divided the continent ahead of the EU-Africa summit that, ironically, has been postponed several times since 2003 as Africa refused to balk to Western pressure to hold the summit minus Zimbabwe.

Source: Xinhua

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