DA asks Portugal to revoke Mugabe’s invite to EU/African Summit

I have today (Tuesday) sent a letter to Mr Jose Socrates, the Prime Minister of Portugal, with a request that his government reverses its decision to invite Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to attend the EU/African Summit in Po

rtugal in December. The text of my letter follows below.
“10 June 2007
Dear Mr Prime Minister,
I am writing to you regarding a matter of profound international importance, namely the invitation extended by your country to President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe to attend the EU/African Summit in Portugal in December.
I respectfully submit that the decision to extend such an invitation should be urgently reviewed. President Mugabe’s presence at this influential meeting would only serve to legitimize his increasingly autocratic rule. Furthermore, President Mugabe’s attendance would undermine the combined efforts of the EU and the AU to promote human rights and democracy on the African continent.
Painful past experience has shown that President Mugabe is unwilling to enter into any kind of meaningful dialogue on the critical challenges that Zimbabwe currently faces. He has also shown on numerous occasions that he cannot be trusted to uphold the promises or commitments he undertakes.
The situation in Zimbabwe continues to deteriorate on a daily basis. The consequences of this economic and political meltdown are directly felt not only in South Africa, but also by all of Zimbabwe’s immediate neighbours. Zimbabwe is currently suffering from chronic shortages of both staple foods and fuel, which are the immediate result of President Mugabe’s disastrous economic policies. Most recently, President Mugabe’s government arrested 1300 people who did not comply with a government order to halve the prices of key commodities, in a desperate attempt to curb run away inflation.
These events come on the back of a sustained campaign that has been ongoing for several years, and has seen the Zimbabwean government clamp down on media freedom and any form of popular dissent in its efforts to hold onto power.
It is this context that I would respectfully request that you rescind President Mugabe’s invitation to the summit, and in so doing send a message that Portugal and the EU unequivocally condemn President Mugabe’s fundamentally undemocratic rule. It is precisely this kind of strong message that will serve to help resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe, rather than an attempt to promote President Mugabe’s international standing.
Kind regards,
Helen Zille
Leader of the Democratic Alliance”

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