UK's Brown to boycott EU summit if Mugabe attends

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LONDON, Sep 19 (Reuters) British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he would not attend a European Union-Africa summit in Lisbon in December if Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was present.

''I believe that, if he attended, President Mugabe would undermine the summit, diverting attention from the important issues that need to be resolved. In those circumstances, my attendance would not be appropriate,'' Brown said in an article in the Independent newspaper's Thursday edition, published late today.

''Britain will not shirk our responsibilities to the people of Zimbabwe,'' he added.

Mugabe is subject to a European Union travel ban but that could be suspended to allow him to attend the summit, which would be the first EU-AU summit for seven years.

REUTERS RC BST0347

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