News / Africa

Zimbabwe’s Mugabe Snubs EU-Africa Summit

FILE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace wave to supporters and guests during celebrations to mark his 90th birthday in Marondera about 80km (50 miles) east of the capital Harare, Feb. 23, 2014. Mugabe turned 90 on February 21.
FILE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace wave to supporters and guests during celebrations to mark his 90th birthday in Marondera about 80km (50 miles) east of the capital Harare, Feb. 23, 2014. Mugabe turned 90 on February 21.
The European Union-Africa Summit opens Wednesday in Brussels, but one of the leaders who will not be there is Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, who is snubbing the event after his wife was denied a visa.  

Mugabe will not attend the summit to protest Brussels’ decision to bar his wife from traveling with him.

Grace Mugabe is subject to an EU travel ban along with her husband, although her husband was granted permission to visit Brussels in this case.

The travel bans date to the early 2000s, when Western nations put sanctions on President Mugabe and his allies for human rights abuses and alleged election rigging.

Zimbabwe’s Secretary for Foreign Affairs Joey Bimha accused the the European Union of “bullying” Africa, and said the incident would further strain Harare-Brussels relations.

He said African Union and the European Union had agreed on terms of the summit earlier this year.

"But we see some countries that were invited that were not supposed to be invited.  Others that were not supposed to be invited that were invited.  And also the European Union went further to decide to issue visas to certain members of the delegations and refused to others,” he said.

That was an apparent reference to Morocco and Egypt being invited to the summit, while Grace Mugabe was barred from attending.

The EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Aldo Dell’Ariccia, said the meeting was important for cash-strapped Zimbabwe, as it would have benefited economically and diplomatically.  

"The European Union has invited President Mugabe to attend this fourth EU-Africa summit and we have taken exceptional measures to exempt him from the visa ban," he said. "It has been agreed by all member states of the European Union and the purpose of that was exactly to demonstrate that the European Union is willing engage in dialogue with Zimbabwe at the highest possible level, because the shared goal is normalizing relations, so it’s all in the interest of Zimbabwe to go there."

Despite that argument, Zimbabwe will not be sending a representative to the summit this week.

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Comment Sorting
by: pedro ngandu from: angola
April 04, 2014 3:04 AM
mugabe you are the true jesus of africa .long live

by: Edache Abu from: ABUJA ,Nigeria.
April 03, 2014 4:22 PM
Robert Mugabe the GREAT, You are the true son of Africa. That land issue that you resolved in your country in favour of the blacks, can never go down well with the European Colonialist. So ride on brother.

by: Boer007 from: South Africa
April 02, 2014 9:25 AM
Africa is doomed by the very attitude displayed by the two comments above. What is your definition of "independent" African states? Completely ruined so no human life can exist?

by: manzi kajuga from: kigali
April 02, 2014 6:33 AM
this is great. if Africa had many such presidents Mugabe,
it would have full independence

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
April 02, 2014 1:35 AM
Europeans' long standing culture of "double standard" policy against African leaders has to be stopped. We all know that Mugabe is not Mother Teresa. But denying him to come in with his own wife for non scrupulous reason is obscene.

The least we can expect from Europeans is some respect for the decencies.

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