WAS Gordon Brown right to decline to attend this weekend's European Union/Africa summit meeting in Portugal because he did not want to sit at the same table as the Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe? The European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso thinks not because If international leaders did not go to conferences involving countries which did not respect human rights, I am afraid we would not be attending many global conferences at all. The Portuguese presidency of the EU did not want to invite Mr Mugabe to this summit but were told by the other African invitees that if Zimbabwe was not included they would not attend either. Such is African solidarity for a man who has quite literally ruined his country and abused its people to a degree probably unprecedented even in Africa's dismal record. The problem, of course, is that China now holds similar summits with African leaders on a regular basis and is investing heavily in the continent. I think Mr Brown was right to make a personal gesture. If a poll were taken in Zimbabwe it would back him strongly. Why has David Cameron has not yet criticised the prime minister for isolating Britain in Europe. Is it perhaps because his sole friend in the EU, the prime minister of the Czech republic, Mirek Topolanek, is the only other EU leader to join Mr Brown in declining to attend the summit?
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