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Zimbabwean President Not Invited to Commonwealth Summit - 2003-11-25

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo says he will not invite Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe to an upcoming Commonwealth summit in Nigeria's capital, Abuja. Zimbabwe has been suspended from the group of mainly former British colonies since last year. Speaking from his residence in the southwestern Nigerian town of Otta, President Obasanjo said Mr. Mugabe will not be invited to the summit.

The decision follows Mr. Obasanjo's visit to Zimbabwe last week for consultations with President Mugabe.

Mr. Mugabe had warned earlier he would call for a boycott of the summit if he were not invited. He has accused, what he calls, the white section of the Commonwealth of pursuing a vendetta against him in retaliation for his controversial seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution.

Zimbabwe has been suspended from the Commonwealth since March 2002, following Mr. Mugabe's re-election as president in what Commonwealth observers said was a rigged vote.

Mr. Obasanjo, who is close to Mr. Mugabe, has been trying to mediate talks between Zimbabwe's leader and the political opposition, but he has made little progress.