Commonwealth countries at their meeting in Nigeria have been considering the consequences of Zimbabwe's decision to leave the organisation. Zimbabwe had been suspended from the Commonwealth because of concerns over democracy and human rights abuses. This report from Barnaby Mason:
The dispute over Zimbabwe has dominated the summit. Many countries resent the amount of time it's taken up, but others stressed the vital importance of insisting on Commonwealth standards of democracy. The New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark, denied that Zimbabwe's withdrawal was a disaster for the Commonwealth. The disaster would have been to lift the suspension, she said; that would have shown the Commonwealth to be a joke.
On the other side of the argument, President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique said the Commonwealth decision had pushed Zimbabwe to leave and could have been avoided. He also complained that the organisation had acted undemocratically itself last March, when the suspension was left in place beyond the original twelve months. But Mr Chissano said he respected the views of others in the Commonwealth and didn't think the episode should bring about enmity between member states. In the end, the Southern Africa supporters of the Zimbabwe government under-estimated the opposition across the Commonwealth, including that of some other African states, to letting Zimbabwe back without progress on democracy and human rights.
Barnaby Mason, BBC diplomatic correspondent, Abuja