The host of the EU-African summit in Lisbon this weekend has urged the 80 leaders gathered to “not waste any more time” in building an efficient partnership. Some 80 leaders are meeting to discuss issues ranging from trade and development to immigration and human rights. The last, and only summit between the two continents took place seven years ago.
Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates admitted little had been done since in reinforcing co-operation between the two blocs. On human rights he said those present had a duty and an obligation to provide hope of resolving the tragedies witnessed in Darfur and Somalia. But if progress is to be made, old colonial wounds will have to be healed.
Ghanaian and African Union President John Kufour said: “For almost 500 years the relationship between our continents has not been a happy one. It is to correct this historic injustice and inhumanity that this new relationship between Africa and the EU is necessary.”
The controversial presence of Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe was a distraction to the talks. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has boycotted the event. Britain accuses Mugabe of disastrous economic mismanagement and human rights abuses.