'Mugabe should attend summit'

HARARE - Former Mozambican president Joachim Chissano says Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe should attend the EU-Africa summit to exchange views on issues in his country.

HARARE - Former Mozambican president Joachim Chissano says Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe should attend the EU-Africa summit to exchange views on issues in his country.

"I think it will be an opportunity for the EU to discuss with president Mugabe and exchange views," Chissano was quoted as saying by the Herald newspaper yesterday.

"They are not going there to fight but to exchange views, to find common ground, so how can common ground be found when one player is not there?"

The former Mozambican leader is in Zimbabwe to attend commemorations of the work and life of former UN chief Dag Hammarskjold in the eastern border town of Mutare.

His comments were in reaction to threats by British prime minister Gordon Brown to boycott the key summit in Lisbon on December 8 to 9 if Mugabe attends.

Brown said in a newspaper article Mugabe's attendance at the summit would divert attention from crucial issues.

Chissano, who was once charged with brokering dialogue between Mugabe's ruling party and the main opposition, was quoted as saying of Britain: "Any government is free to take a stance which it deems fit to defend its interests. In this case, it's necessary to find out if it is in the interest of the larger group to which she belongs, which is the EU."

The EU has imposed a travel ban on Mugabe, 83, and members of his ruling elite. - Sapa-AFP

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