SA confident about attendance at EU-AU summit

South Africa is confident that a ”critical number” of European and African leaders would be in attendance at the planned European Union-African Union summit in Portugal in December to make it worthwhile.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Wednesday: ”We are quite confident that a critical number of European leaders would be at the summit and that a critical number of Africa leaders will be at the summit and therefore the summit would be in our view a good summit.”

Dlamini-Zuma was speaking at the conclusion of a meeting between South Africa and the EU troika, comprising the EU Commission, the Council of Europe and the current president of the EU, which is Portugal.

Responding to questions on British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s refusal to attend the summit should Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe be among the delegates, Dlamini-Zuma said it would not be unusual if not all the leaders did not attend the summit.

”We should not take one person who have said that they might not attend the summit and then make as though that one person will make the summit. Summits depend on a number of people to be there, not just one person,” she said.

”Off course we would like him to be there and a lot of other European leaders. We are very optimistic that this summit will go ahead and that it would have enough leaders from both sides to make it worthwhile,” she added.

Portugal’s Foreign Minister, Luis Amado, supported Dlamini-Zuma, saying Portugal was approaching the summit with optimism.

”We need to place this summit at the multilateral level of relationships between the European Union and the African Union, and deal with problems we have with Zimbabwe and some other countries in Africa and other regions of the world on a bilateral perspective,” he said. – Sapa

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