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Mugabe to attend Mwanawasa burial

LUSAKA, September 2 – Zimbabwe’s president is one of the more than 14 African heads of state and leaders who will attend the burial of President Levy Mwanawasa on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Kabinga Pande said.

Mwanawasa had been an arch-critic of Robert Mugabe, once referring to Zimbabwe as a "sinking Titanic."

"We have confirmation from 14 heads of state and government who have indicated their attendance at the burial," Pande said on Tuesday.

Most of them will arrive in the capital Lusaka on Tuesday, while South African President Thabo Mbeki and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame are expected to arrive on Wednesday, the date of the burial, he said.

Mbeki will be accompanied on the trip by Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, an official statement in Pretoria said.

Mwanawasa, 59, who died in a Paris hospital on August 19 after suffering a stroke, will be buried in the capital Lusaka at Embassy Park, situated outside the presidential secretariat.

Mwanawasa was until his death chairman of the 15-nation Southern African Development Community, and one of the few African leaders to speak out against the policies of Mugabe.

Mbeki took over the leadership of the Community during a summit of the body in Johannesburg last month.

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