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Mugabe leaves for AU summit


President Robert Mugabe yesterday left Harare for Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, to attend the African Union (AU) summit which is expected to dwell extensively on the armed conflict in Libya.

Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi’s four-decade rule is under threat from armed civilians who are being assisted by a Nato–led coalition.

Reports from Equatorial Guinea said organisers of the summit printed Gaddafi’s portrait and mounted it on one of the flags decorating the road leading to the summit venue.

The summit is scheduled to open today without the Libyan leader. Diplomats from across the globe have reportedly descended on Malabo, in an effort to persuade Gaddafi’s peers to force him from power.

The AU has been one of the biggest Gaddafi sympathisers condemning Nato airstrikes and calling for a peaceful settlement to the conflict.

Britain’s Minister for Africa Henry Bellingham yesterday said he had met with the majority of the foreign ministers of the 53-member organisation attending the summit, and established that even those who were previously reluctant to call for Gaddafi’s ouster were now privately agreeing that he should go.

“I believe there is certainly a change in the whole perception of Gaddafi. We are in a very different position to the one we were in just five, six weeks ago. Then we were talking about a stalemate. Now there’s no stalemate. Gaddafi is losing his grip,” Bellingham said.
Vice-President Joice Mujuru is the Acting President.

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