The conflict in the Central African Republic is set to top the agenda in Brussels on Wednesday as the leaders of some 80 African and EU states meet.

The summit takes place after the EU officially launched its delayed 1,000-troop military mission to CAR.

Despite the deployment of 6,000 African Union and 2,000 French troops, violence has continued unabated in the country.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is boycotting the summit after his wife was refused a visa.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will attend a crisis meeting on CAR with some 30 heads of state and government, 15 from each continent, before the EU-Africa summit gets under way.

World leaders hope the dispatch of EU troops can help some 8,000 French and African peacekeepers restore some calm to the country after it witnessed some of the worst violence ever seen on the continent.