January 30, 2003
This week, an attempt by the EU’s foreign ministers to renew sanctions against Zimbabwe collapsed because France wanted an exemption from the travel ban to enable President Robert Mugabe to attend a Franco-African summit in Paris.
The EU’s whole relationship with Africa was thrown into confusion, with an EU-Africa summit to be hosted by Portugal in April under threat. If France was allowed to receive Mugabe, the Portuguese wanted the same right.
But the leaders of the UK, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and Spain are all likely to boycott a summit attended by Mugabe, which would transform the event into an embarrassing display of European disunity.
There’s much, much more. I think that in the disunity of Europe here, and especially in the letter supporting the U.S. on Iraq released by eight European heads of state that I mentioned earlier, we’re seeing some very effective diplomacy by the United States. With an unwitting assist by France. I’ll have more on that later today.