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merkel-levy.jpg

President Levy P Mwanawasa, SC. on Wednesday blasted British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s decision to boycott the EU-Africa summit in Lisbon in protest at Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe’s presence.

Photo:Marcus Brandt/AFP.  

This is according to AFP reports reaching the Zambian Chronicle on wire.  German Chancellor Angela Merkel(R) and Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa gave a joint press conference after bilateral talks at the Chancellory in Berlin.

 

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday she would explicitly criticize human rights breaches in Zimbabwe when she attends this weekend’s EU-Africa summit in Lisbon. 

President Levy Mwanawasa, emerging from talks with Merkel in Berlin, said his neighbour Zimbabwe was a problem for African nations, but not necessarily the most important problem.

Dr. Mwanawasa said he found the way that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had cancelled his Lisbon attendance because of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s presence was somewhat ‘unfortunate.’ ‘The solution cannot be to boycott Zimbabwe,’ he told reporters.

It would have been better if Brown had attended and addressed the issues. He said the stay-away was not a good decision. Merkel told reporters the topic would not be swept under the carpet with her.

She would raise both human rights in Zimbabwe and its conduct of government, she said, identifying the problems in Zimbabwe and contrasting this with the progress being made in other African nations.

Dr. Mwanawasa, who is currently chairman of the Southern African Development Community, was to stay till Friday on a four-day visit to Germany.

Leaders of the European Union and African states meet in Lisbon December 7-9. Merkel termed the weekend meeting, the first such summit for seven years, historic, saying it involved the full range of cooperation between the two continents.

Almost 80 heads of state and government from the EU and African Union (AU) are set to meet in Lisbon.

© 2007 dpa – Deutsche Presse-Agentur