Toyako (Japan), July 8 : World leaders attending the Group of Eight Summit in Hokkaido, Japan, have warned that the African continent will suffer as long as Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe remains in power.
Indicating that Zimbabwe could attract tougher sanctions unless African nations take a stronger role in the negotiations to remove Mugabe, the G-8 told the seven African leaders on Monday that unless they acted to deal with the "illegitimate" President, trade and investment on the continent could be hit.
According to The Telegraph, South African President Thabo Mbeki had an uncomfortable time during the session as several leaders, including President Bush, expressed dissatisfaction at his failure to bring Mugabe to book.
Bush said that Zimbabwe was discussed extensively at the meeting but, according to President Kikwete of Tanzania, African leaders and the G8 differed over how to respond to the crisis.
Meanwhile, British officials came close last night to saying that Mugabe should go, insisting that his election was not legitimate and pointing to the first poll in which the MDC leader finished ahead.
The United States also highlighted the divergent views on Zimbabwe. "There were differences. It is fair to say that, you know, not all African leaders are in a position to support sanctions at this time," Dan Price, presidential assistant for international economic affairs, said Dana Perino, spokesman for the White House.
A Canadian official quoted G8 leaders as telling their African counterparts: "The Mugabe regime is an illegitimate regime and it should not be tolerated."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was willing to ramp up pressure on Mugabe, while Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso urged a quick solution.