Mugabe blasts Europeans

Harare – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said upon arrival in Harare on Wednesday that European Union overtures of friendship and cooperation with Africa should be treated with pessimism because of unfulfilled past promises by EU leaders.\r\n

Speaking in Harare on arrival from the two-day Africa-EU summit that ended in Tripoli, Libya, on Tuesday, Mugabe said the Europeans are dishonest and should therefore never be taken seriously whenever they promise greater cooperation between the two blocs.

The EU bloc pledged to assist Africa in defeating poverty and underdevelopment at the conclusion of the summit which was overshadowed by a boycott by Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

“We have to wait and see whether they are sincere this time. But as you know, we have been down this road before,” Mugabe told reporters at Harare International Airport.

Mugabe repeated his call for fairness in the international justice system, citing the selective application of the law by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The ICC has indicted al-Bashir for crimes against humanity and genocide over the conflict in Darfur but has refused to take similar action against former US President George W. Bush and ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair who led their troops into Iraq, resulting in the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians.

Speaking at a joint summit of the European Union and African states, Mugabe said the ICC was applying a double standard by indicting Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and genocide.

Sudan’s government has said it was boycotting the EU-Africa summit in protest at EU pressure for Bashir to stay away.

"Why does this court not do the same with Tony Blair and George W. Bush, both of whom occupied Iraq and killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people?" Mugabe said in a speech to the summit in Libya’s capital.

As U.S. president, George W. Bush called Mugabe’s rule "tyrannical," while Blair, the former British prime minister, accused Mugabe of human rights abuses and running down what was once one of Africa’s most prosperous economies.

Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, denies those accusations and says the West, and especially Zimbabwe’s former colonial ruler Britain, is trying to sabotage his country.

"Bashir is not with us now. Why? Because some European countries said if he comes, they will not attend the summit," Mugabe said in his speech.

"They are wrong because they shouldn’t take this decision before we know if he is guilty or innocent … Only a court in his own country can decide if he is guilty or not."