By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
23 January 2014
ZANU PF has stated it is “not bothered” by the US decision not to invite Robert Mugabe to a landmark summit, set to be hosted by Barack Obama later this year.
47 African leaders will receive invites to the US-Africa summit being held in August, with the Obama administration looking to widen trade, development and security ties with African nations.
The invites are only being extended to those nations in ‘good standing’ with the US, or who are not currently suspended by the African Union. This means Mugabe, who remains targeted under the US government’s restrictive measures, will not be included.
Asked to comment on this ‘snub’, Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba was quoted by the NewsDay newspaper as saying: “The world is larger than America. So we are not bothered.”
He added: “In any case, it would have been very cynical for an American President presiding over runners of sanctions against Zimbabwe to invite its president for dinner.”
Former Zimbabwean diplomat Clifford Mashiri said the US was “making a clear statement” by not following the lead of other Western nations who have been attempting to re-engage with the Mugabe regime.
“The US is sending a clear signal that Mugabe’s administration is illegitimate. So it is just registering this point to the world that he’s not welcome,” Mashiri said.
He added that this was in strong contrast to the position taken by European nations, which have been steadily working to welcome Zimbabwe back into the fold. These re-engagement efforts have persisted, despite the disputed elections in July 2013.
“The US is taking an independent position, and with regards to the illegitimate regime in Zimbabwe, I would like to think this position will not change just because Europe is re-engaging,” Mashiri said.
Other countries who will not be invited to the US-Africa summit include Egypt, Madagascar and Sudan. However, Kenya’s leader Uhuru Kenyatta is set to be part of the summit, despite facing charges before the International Criminal Court.