Germany's Merkel says Zimbabwe damages Africa's image

LISBON Sat Dec 8, 2007 9:27am EST

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LISBON (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a EU-Africa summit on Saturday that the situation in Zimbabwe was "damaging" the image of Africa.

She made her remarks during a keynote speech on human rights at the summit, which has been marred by the attendance of Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe.

"The situation of Zimbabwe is damaging the image of the new Africa," she said addressing the meeting where Mugabe sat alongside other European and African leaders

"The whole European Union has the same view of what is happening there," she said, according to a copy of her speech provided to journalists. "Zimbabwe concerns all of us, in Europe and in Africa."

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has boycotted the meeting because of the presence of Mugabe, who the West accuses of ruling like a dictator and wrecking his country's economy.

(Reporting by Angelika Stricker, Writing by Axel Bugge)

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