10 December 2007

Zambia: EU-Africa Summit Closes With Dissent

Ndola — THE two-day European Union-Africa Summit yesterday in Lisbon Portugal with sharp differences over the political situation in Zimbabwe.

More than 70 African and European leaders including President Mwanasasa attended the summit which was last convened seven years ago in Cairo, Egypt.

African Union Chairman, John Kuffour said during the joint Press Conference after the closure of the summit that the deteriorating political situation in Zimbabwe did not require imposed outside solutions.

In an apparent reaction ofEU'saccusationsat the summit that President Mugabehas dented the image ofAfrica, Mr Kuffour said the situation in Zimbabwe needed a home-grown solution to be brought to normalcy.

He said SADC countries would continue to lead in trying to getZimbabwe in political dialogue with the position.

Mr Kuffour saidAfrican countries respected the sovereignty of Zimbabwe and would therefore not want someone from outside to imposesolutions.

Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel sharply attacked President Robert Mugabe during the summit accusing him of human rights violations and denting the image of Africa.

"What the German Chancellor said is the position of the European Union on the situation in Zimbabwe," European Union Commission President Jose Barroso said.

But Mr Kuffour said African countries were determined to establish good governance which would result in the respect of human rights and rule of law on their own.

The summit ended without agreement on the key issue of trade, dealing a blow to efforts to forge a new economic partnership between the two continents.

The two-day summit ended with an ambitious action plan and a promise to meet again in 2010. But the world's largest trading bloc and its poorest continent were at loggerheads over trade, which would be the basis for future economies ties-ZANIS/Reuters.

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