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No easy re-entry for Zimbabwe

London, Feb. 13 (Reuters): Commonwealth secretary-general Don McKinnon said yesterday Zimbabwe would not automatically be readmitted to the group when its 12-month suspension comes up for review next month.

Although Nigeria and South Africa, both members of a three-nation Commonwealth committee on Zimbabwe want the suspension lifted immediately, the issue was for the whole Commonwealth to decide, he said.

“The suspension was to be for 12 months and at that time there was to be a review of the developments that have taken place and therefore leaders have the option of what happens at the end of that 12 months,” McKinnon told Reuters after talks with Australian Prime Minister John Howard in London.

The EU edged towards renewing its sanctions for another year against Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe and his entourage yesterday, but postponed a likely deal until tomorrow, diplomats said.

The Commonwealth was plunged into controversy after Nigeria and South Africa urged an immediate end to the suspension.

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