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Last Updated: Monday, 8 December, 2003, 10:29 GMT
Zimbabwe: Reaction in quotes
Reaction to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's decision to sever ties with the group after member states decided to extend Zimbabwe's suspension.

Zimbabwe ruling party senior official Didymus Mutasa:

Whatever our detractors and critics are saying, for us this is like an escape from hell because Britain and its white allies have turned the Commonwealth into a Zimbabwe lynching club.

Zimbabwe is being victimised. International observers criticised Nigeria's elections but the Commonwealth did nothing and even held its summit there.

Commonwealth spokesman Joel Kibazo:

It is not something the Commonwealth wanted. It is disappointing news.

Zimbabwe opposition (MDC) senior official Welshman Ncube:

The decision to withdraw from the Commonwealth was taken without cabinet approval in terms of the constitution of Zimbabwe and is therefore unlawful.

Mugabe still wants to play politics at the expense of the people.

Chairman of the African Union and Southern Africa Development Community, Mozambique President Joaquin Chissano:

Now there is no consensus. This organisation did not reach this decision by consensus. It is all undemocratically done.

That is why I feel it is unfair. The process of isolation does not bring resolution.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw:

It is entirely in character, sadly, with President Mugabe. I think it is a decision that he and his people will come to regret.

President Mugabe will not be there for ever. Other countries have been out of the Commonwealth, including Nigeria for a period, and have come back and I look forward to a time when Zimbabwe has a democratic government and is back in the Commonwealth.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard:

I think it is always regrettable when a country decides to go, but the decision the Commonwealth took yesterday was the only decision, the only decision, consistent with the Harare principles.

You have to have consistent standards in these matters, but nothing is permanent and there's no reason why at some time in the future, Zimbabwe mightn't want to come back.

I hope the people of Zimbabwe would want to do that.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark:

It certainly is not a crisis for the Commonwealth. What it says is that the Commonwealth stands for something. It is of course a crisis for Zimbabwe which has turned its back on the last organisation prepared to engage with it.

It is unfortunate that President Mugabe has decided to shut the door on those who could help him rehabilitate his nation in the eyes of the world.

Zimbabwe's government seems determined to thumb its nose at international opinion.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo

The measures that we've put in place to facilitate the quick return to the Commonwealth remain as relevant as if they had not decided to quit.

The BBC's Peter Biles
"A devastating blow to the family of 54 nations"

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