Asked for an update on the comments made by the Prime Minister yesterday, the PMS said he had dealt with the issue pretty comprehensively, but added the Prime Minister’s position was clear. The Prime Minister did not intend to attend the EU-Africa summit. What the Government was doing, was setting out a number of positive measures to deal with the situation in Zimbabwe, including proposing to extend the sanctions regime, calling for a UN humanitarian envoy, calling for an EU envoy and increasing bilateral humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe.
Asked if the Prime Minister would accept another representative from Zimbabwe, as long as it wasn’t Mugabe, the PMS confirmed that that was the position of the Government. However, it was a hypothetical position, as that was not the assumption that people seemed to be working on at the moment. The PMS added that the Prime Minister was not dictating to anyone else on the issue of who can and who can’t go, he was just making his position clear that on the assumption that things worked out as suggested, he would not go.
Asked to clarify whether this was the personal position of the Prime Minister and that other representatives of the Government could go in his place, the PMS reiterated that these were issues that would have to be considered nearer the time. The Prime Minister had set out his position very clearly.
Asked repeatedly if there had been any diplomatic contact with other countries to persuade them to firstly not invite Mugabe and secondly not to go if he was to be invited, the PMS replied that the Prime Minister was not in the business of telling other people whether they should or shouldn’t attend meetings. All the Prime Minister was doing was setting out his position.
Asked if there would be a British presence of sorts at the summit, the PMS said again that the summit was several months away and it was an issue that needed to be considered over the weeks and months ahead, depending on what happened.
Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news
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