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The BBC's Angus Roxborough
"Peter Tatchell tried to carry out what he called a citizens arrest"
 real 56k

The BBC's Janet Barrie in Brussels
"Concern is growing here about developments in Zimbabwe"
 real 28k

Belgian Foreign Ministry spokesman Koen Vervaeke
"Zimbabwe has to engage in the logic as the other partners in the Lusaka peace process"
 real 28k

Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Donald Anderson
"I think this is a crass error of judgement on the part of the Belgian and French governments"
 real 28k

Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC leader
"It's a slap in the face for Zimbabweans"
 real 28k

Monday, 5 March, 2001, 13:29 GMT
Belgium defends Mugabe visit
Robert Mugabe
Mugabe will be challenged on internal issues
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has arrived in Brussels for a controversial visit which the Belgian Government has defended as vital to the Democratic Republic of Congo peace process.

He is due to meet the Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt and EU Commissioner for Development Poul Nielsen.

Farm occupation in 2000
Mrs Olds's death has been linked to the farm occupation campaign
EU officials may use the meeting to express concern at recent developments within Zimbabwe, and threaten to suspend aid if no changes are seen in three months.

Belgian Foreign Ministry spokesman Koen Verwaeke told the BBC that his country shared British concerns about the threat to judicial and press freedoms within Zimbabwe.

But the original aim of the meetings would be to urge Zimbabwe to withdraw its troops from Congo, he said.

The visit is taking place as violence continues in Zimbabwe, with the murder of another white farmer.

On Tuesday, Mr Mugabe is due to meet French President Jacques Chirac.

'Important actor'

There has been criticism by British newspapers and gay rights activists of the talks with Mr Mugabe.

But Mr Verwaeke described the Zimbabwean leader as an important player in the Great Lakes (Congo-Rwanda) peace process, and said there should be dialogue with all sides in the conflict.

He urged Mr Mugabe to follow the lead of Rwanda and Uganda and withdraw troops from Congo.

"Zimbabwe has to engage in the same logic as the other partners in the Lusaka peace process," he said.

Rwanda and Uganda, which support opponents of the Kinshasa Government, began withdrawing troops on Wednesday following UN Security Council approval of a peacekeeping plan.

Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia, which back Congolese President Joseph Kabila, have not yet begun their withdrawal.

Farmer's mother shot

In Zimbabwe itself, gunmen shot dead the mother of white farmer Martin Olds, who himself died at the beginning of a campaign by self-styled war veterans to seize white-owned farms last year.

Gloria Olds was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds on her farm near the city of Bulawayo on Sunday.

Police said they were treating the incident as murder and armed robbery, although relatives believe that self-styled war veterans are responsible.

Mrs Olds is the eighth white farmer to be killed since the campaign began.

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See also:

10 Feb 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
Zimbabwe's descent into violence
26 Oct 00 | Africa
Mugabe under pressure
19 Feb 01 | Africa
Why I left Zimbabwe
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