Ailing Mwanawasa heading to France

By Time of article published Jul 2, 2008

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Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt - Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa was transferred to France on Tuesday following "successful surgery" in Egypt after he suffered a stroke at an African summit, an Egyptian official said.

Mwanawasa, 59, was rushed to a hospital on Sunday ahead of the African Union meeting in the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

"He had successful surgery and he was transferred on Wednesday to France to continue his treatment," Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hossam Zaki told reporters at the summit venue.

The AU meeting was dominated by an election crisis in Zimbabwe, and on Tuesday the continent's leaders adopted a resolution calling for a national unity government and more talks to resolve the political turmoil.

Mwanawasa, current chairperson of the Southern African Development Community, has been one of the more vocal critics of Zimbabwe's veteran President Robert Mugabe.

The Zambian leader is a favourite of the International Monetary Fund and other Western donors, who have extended billions of dollars in debt relief after his crackdown on government spending and launch of an anti-graft drive. He also suffered a mild stroke in 2006.

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