African Union heads of state and government wrapped up a summit in Accra, Ghana, on Tuesday without making much headway towards their top agenda item of creating a United States of Africa - or resolving crises in Sudan and Zimbabwe.
The most significant development during the summit occurred in Lisbon, where Prime Minister Jose Socrates of Portugal declared that his country, in the European Union presidency until the end of this year, would not allow differences over Mr. Mugabe's participation in a December EU-AU summit to damage European-African relations.
In remarks upon assuming the EU presidency, Mr. Socrates said Europe will maintain a tough stance on Harare, but that this should not hinder strengthening ties with Africa as a whole. In Zimbabwe's case,“appropriate diplomatic formulae will be found.”
The Financial Times quoted Portuguese officials as saying that Lisbon would extend a blanket invitation to the African Union, which would decide which leaders to invite.
Mr. Socrates then flew to Accra, where he told the assembled African leaders that the EU-Africa summit should be "a turning point for relations" between the continents.
Director Chris Lanceburg of South Africa's Center for Policy Studies told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that since the last EU-AU summit in 2000, EU-AU relations have seen "unprecedented" development.
More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...