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Mugabe to Attend EU-Africa Summit; Brown to Boycott


British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has confirmed he will not attend next month's European Union-Africa summit if Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is there.

Mr. Brown spoke Tuesday shortly after President Mugabe told the Portuguese news agency Lusa that he will attend the summit in Portugal's capital, Lisbon, on December 8 and 9.

The British prime minister told reporters that he cannot sit down with Mr. Mugabe given what he said are conditions of oppression in Zimbabwe. He also said Mr. Mugabe should take responsibility for the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy.

Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade said today he will fly to Zimbabwe this week for talks with Mr. Mugabe aimed at resolving the dispute.

Portugal invited Mr. Mugabe at the insistence of the African Union, but has voiced concern that his presence will overshadow the summit.

Last week, Foreign Minister Luis Amado said Portugal would prefer the Zimbabwean president not attend.

Mr. Mugabe faces a visa ban in Europe, which would have to be lifted for him to attend the summit.

Zimbabwe is grappling with an economic crisis marked by 80 percent unemployment and an inflation rate estimated at almost 15,000 percent.

Mr. Mugabe blames his country's economic problems on British and American sanctions against his government.

The two-day EU-Africa summit is aimed at strengthening political and economic ties between the two continents. It will be the first summit between European and African leaders in seven years.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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