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Zimbabwe Crisis Obscured at Summit by London Bombings

Under the shadow of terrorism, Group of Eight leaders concluded their summit in Scotland on Friday with a pledge to double development aid to Africa to $50 billion by 2012. The G-8 also agreed to forgive $40 billion in multilateral and bilateral debt owed by 18 countries, most of them in Africa, though Zimbabwe is not among them.

Despite such historic moves for development, the summit came to an end under the somber news of the rising death toll in the terrorist bombings of London Underground trains and a bus Thursday. More than 50 people died and 700 were wounded.

Ndimyke Mwakalyele of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe asked London correspondent Sandra Nyaira if any of the estimated 1 million Zimbabweans living in the United Kingdom had been caught up in the bombing spree attributed to Al-Quaeda.

Though United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and President Vladmir Putin of Russia spoke out on Zimbabwe at the summit, the G-8 final communiqué failed to give the crisis any specific mention. Some observers suggested Prime Minister Tony Blair’s plans to use the summit to put President Mugabe in an uncomfortable spotlight were scuttled by the terrorist attacks on the eve of the G-8 Africa agenda items.

Thomas Deve is Africa representative of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, a global organization which pressures leaders to press ahead on poverty reduction.

Mr. Deve told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the references to Zimbabawe by leaders during the summit were encouraging even if the summit ultimately was distracted from Zimbabwe by the London attacks.