Tory call to suspend Zimbabwe sanctions

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Indy Politics

The Foreign Office described as "unrealistic" a call to suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth yesterday as the plundering of white farms continued unabated and British cricket authorities considered whether to scrap a tour to the southern African country next month.

The shadow Foreign Secretary, Francis Maude, called for the Zimbabwe President, Robert Mugabe, to be barred from the Commonwealth summit in Australia for failing to protect white farms that have been attacked and looted by Mugabe supporters in the past week.

A Foreign Office spokesman said that as Mr Mugabe was the leader of a country that had not been suspended from the Commonwealth, he would be attending the summit in Brisbane in October as scheduled. "Talking about suspension is not realistic," he said.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has contacted the Foreign Office amid fears for the safety of the white members of the England team. As of last night, there was no decision to abandon the tour, in September and October.