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Last Updated:  Monday, 24 February, 2003, 09:30 GMT
Is France right to host Mugabe?
Zimbabwe's President, Robert Mugabe, has arrived in Paris, amid a storm of opposition and protests.

Mr Mugabe is attending a summit of French and African leaders despite a ban on him travelling to the European Union.

France was given an exemption from the ban, in return for backing the renewal of EU sanctions.

Do you think France is right to host the Zimbabwean president? Or will it provide an opportunity for African leaders to confront Mr Mugabe?

This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

Your reaction:

Do not try to solve Third World problems using First World tools
Wan, Malaysia
I think you have to put things into the right perspective. Do not try to solve Third World problems using First World tools. If France can persuade Mugabe to change certain things in a friendly manner, it should be complemented. What is important is change.
Wan, Malaysia

It does not surprise me that Mugabe has been invited to France. What surprises me is that he hasn't been invited to a dinner hosted by Papa Doc Duvalier. Nor taken on a tour of the French cottage that served as the former home of the Ayatollah Khomeini. I guess Mugabe and Chirac are just too busy discussing democratic principles to socialise and take in the sights of Paris. Maybe next time?
George Fosty, USA

I am astounded that there is so much indignation over the French invitation of Mugabe to Paris. It was after all the British and numerous members of the UN that demanded this known despot take over and run(ruin) the country in '79.
Rob, Australia

Even the French press, till recently supporting Chirac, criticises him heavily for inviting the Zimbabwe leader, although it still pays more attention to British portrayals of Chirac as an earthworm.
Mirek, USA

I am unspeakably angry!
Deborah Newton, South Africa
I am a Zimbabwean who has left Zimbabwe because of the economic and political atrocities being committed by the Mugabe regime there. It is absolutely disgusting that the French should invite Mugabe to this summit. I am unspeakably angry!
Deborah Newton, South Africa

Mugabe should be arrested and tried for crimes against humanity. Chirac seems to have lost his way in thinking he can hobnob with dictators without losing what respect he might once have had.
Peter Anderson, Hong Kong

Mugabe should be prevented from travelling to Europe and what the French have done makes a mockery of any sanction.
Robert Lee, England

Why all the big fuss, it's up to the people of Zimbabwe to sort it out. But the government should stop giving money to them and send food to the people who need it
Steve, UK

Keep your noses out of African affairs
Hoseah Mukumu, Kenya
I sit here and listen to all of you Europeans argue between yourselves about an issue that does not concern you. It's less than 50 years since most African nations gained their independence and in the case of some countries "fake independence". Can't you just keep your noses out of African affairs? The land belongs to Africans and we have the right to kick the greedy Europeans out.
Hoseah Mukumu, Kenya

At least France is being consistent. She clearly has a policy of appeasing dictators who rig elections and are sticking to it.
Jeff M, England

France's wine and dinning of Mugabe is just another example of their attempts to control the reigns of power within the EU. It is a slap in the face to the UK and a disappointment to the rest of the world.
Daryl, USA

France is following a shameful tradition in welcoming President Mugabe. It has supported the dictator of Iraq and now continues the tradition. France is envious of the USA and England and so constantly tries to "clip their wings"
N Ridler,

Mr Benedikte Jespersen, Norway blames Britain for Zimbabwe's food problems while missing the fact that until recently Zimbabwe was one of the largest exporters of food to the rest of Africa. This was well after colonial or white rule. Its only right that we should blame anyone but the current government and its president, Mr Mugabe, that is after all what they do!
Giles Hill, UK

I really cannot understand the position of Wilberforce Majaji and Benedikte Jespersen. Can either of you expalain what the benefit was of Mugabe expelling farmers from their farms, leaving the farms producing nothing and thousands of farm labourers unemployed, except to make a political gesture in order to hang on to power? There is a drought, but why exacerbate the situation by these expulsions? Even Clare Short agrees with this view and she certainly doesn't come across as an imperialist - look at her stance on Iraq.

Sure, why not host the millionaire Mugabe. Let France also underwrite and take the moral responsibility for feeding his people - all of them!
Peter, UK

Britain's problem is France's opportunity. Meanwhile Stephen, Wilberforce and Benedikte should ask themselves this: if the farmers were black instead of white, would they even have bothered to contribute to this talking point?
Tony, UK

I think France is right to welcome Mugabe. As the president of Zimbabwe he has a right to represent his countries on global issues and protect it citizens from neo-colonization. How many Africa can own land in the West i.e England while the whites stay is squatters? Never not here on earth where Africans have even problems in getting minor jobs in the West.

Wilberforce Mujaji: If the situation in Zimbabwe, now and over over the past five years allows you to think Mugabe has more good than harm.... I would hate to see what would have occurred for you to disagree with his actions.
Ian Martin, Canada

First they give Sadam Hussein an indefinate stay of execution, and then they throw a party for Magabe. France's flavour of the month: Evil dictators.
Leon Moorcroft, UK

While Mugabe is in Paris, Zimbabwe continues to die
Susan, Zimbabwe
What is the justification for such organisations as the Commonwealth and the EU if they do not stand by their own resolutions? While Mugabe is in Paris, Zimbabwe continues to die. These two organisations appear little more than exclusive clubs for the benefit of their members, not the countries they represent!
Susan, Zimbabwe

I think France is right. Isolating the guy has not worked. I do agree that someone needs to sit down and get some sense into him. It is better to sit at a round table and discuss the issue. Britain made an agreement and it must honour it, if the agreement is genuine. Let's face it, it is the ordinary Zimbabwean that is suffering in this whole issue.
Tina M M Nyati, Zambia

Why shouldn't Mugabe visit any country if he has been invited? His apparent crime is asking whites to share the land with the black majority. Most of the CIA's puppets in South America did what they pleased so why is it a big deal with Mugabe?
Stephen, South Africa

He has done more good than bad for the Zimbabwean populace
Wilberforce Majaji, USA/Zimbabwe
People should confront Mugabe instead of isolating him. This guy already knows it's crunch time. Any Zimbabwean will tell that this man has brought forth and maintained peace and stability to the troubled African nation. And much of the Zimbabwean people want him to go peacefully because he has done more good than bad for the Zimbabwean populace.
Wilberforce Majaji, USA/Zimbabwe

Unless you are brainwashed or manipulated by the media, one cannot honestly blame solely Mugabe for starvation in Zimbabwe. The responsibility lies with British thuggery and looting of Zimbabwean people and its assets during the colonial rule for which Britain never had the decency to compensate Zimbabwe.
Benedikte Jespersen, Norway

Why don't Wilberforce Majaji and Benedikte Jespersen come to Zimbabwe and see what good has been done (more like undone) and who has benefited from looting? It's certainly not the British. It's people like these two with chips on their shoulders sitting pretty while six million plus people starve and their billionaire leader gets away with murder. Was the apartheid regime allowed to travel?
G Kennedy, Zimbabwe

France continues to behave autonomously, all the while loudly complaining when others do so
Jill, USA
Why can't Chirac travel to Zimbabwe to "confront" Mugabe? France continues to behave autonomously, all the while loudly complaining when others do so. What will happen to the EU in the future, if France is always the exception?
Jill, USA

Is it a ban or not? Again this just makes a mockery of the legal system, as does the wrangling for a second UN resolution over Iraq. Neither appears to have anything to do with law or justice, and both seem to be deeply flawed by self-interest in their execution. And once more France is at the centre of both.
Mark Phillips, UK

I think sanctions against Zimbabwe are totally unjustified in the first place. We are talking about the country whose population has been systematically robbed and abused for centuries. Now people want their land and dignity back. They deserve our help not sanctions!
M Buleur, Gent, Belgium

Mugabe is just over for a jolly while half his country starves
Malcolm, UK
Even the French cannot be that naive to believe that a 'full and frank discussion' will make the slightest impression on Mugabe. Mugabe is just over for a jolly while half his country starves. Face it, Chirac is just a dictator appeaser, hence his overtures to Mugabe and Saddam Hussein.
Malcolm, UK

"Right" has nothing to do with it - its motivations are two-fold: 1) To irritate the British, 2) To increase French influence in largely Anglophone Southern Africa. But the French are starting to overplay their hand, and the contradictions are becoming ludicrous - they oppose "American hegemony" but insult and threaten Eastern European countries who dare to disagree with them. They oppose armed intervention, but are busy fighting in the Ivory Coast. And they grandstand about speaking for Europe, while breaking an agreed European sanctions policy, in place because of the human rights abuses of Mugabe and his thugs.
Paul England

France has once again shown it only cares for its own agenda.
David, Nottingham, England

Mugabe to fly into French storm
19 Feb 03 |  Africa
EU cancels Africa summit
18 Feb 03 |  Europe
Zimbabwe's French connection
24 Jan 03 |  Africa


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