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Zimbabwe And Sudan To Receive Attention At Group Of Eight Summit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to meet South African President Thabo Mbeki on the margins of the Group of Eight summit in Germany getting under way this week for a discussion of his mediating role in the Zimbabwe crisis

Leaders of the United States, Japan, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Russia - an informal member of the consultative body of top industrialized nations - started talks Wednesday ahead of the summit's formal opening Thursday.

Berlin, summit host and chair, has reportedly asked African leaders to take action on Zimbabwe and Sudan in exchange for more aid from developed nations.

Merkel, with backing from outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair, is said to have hoped to put Africa high on the G8 agenda..

"The two are pushing for developed nations to help Africa set up a robust peacekeeping force, review commitments to increase aid to the continent, forgive debts and introduce a new trade pact," one diplomatic source said. Others warned that Africa’s slender gains could be eroded if conflicts are not resolved.

A statement from the South African Department of Foreign Affairs said Mr. Mbeki was to depart Wednesday for Germany to take part in expanded G-8 talks involving five developing economies - China, India, Brazil and Mexico as well as South Africa.

The summit in the Baltic resort of Heiligedamm will be held under the banner, “Growth and Responsibility," with a focus on key global challenges, the world economy and the accelerated economic, political and social development of Africa.

Political analyst Brian Raftopolous of the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town, South Africa, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the Merkel-Mbeki meeting will keep pressure on the government of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to remain engaged in the crisis discussions.

Raftopolous said African leaders should address human rights abuses without waiting to be prodded by the West.

Human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga said the "eyesore" governments in Harare and Sudan should be held accountable for gross human rights abuses.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...