Germany Rips African Ruler at Trade Talks

Calls human rights in Zimbabwe 'damaging' to Africa's image
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2007 3:51 PM CST
Protestors dressed in costumes and masks depicting world leaders, from left to right, Germany's Angela Merkel, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, France's Nicolas Sarkozy and Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, put their...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Germany blasted Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe today as the EU began a historic trade summit with Africa, Reuters reports. Mugabe listened as German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared Zimbabwe’s human rights crisis “damaging the image of the new Africa.” Such issues loom on the first day of the summit, which aims to open trade with the commodity-rich continent.

Also at issue is illegal immigration from Africa, which Spanish PM Jose Luis Zapatero called "our collective failure." But Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi blamed Europe for starting the problem with colonization, saying, "Either you give us back our resources or you invite us into your countries," he said. Resources are what sparked the summit, as the EU wants to strike deals for them that compete with China and India.