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Switzerland Denies Mugabe Entourage Visas

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and wife Grace, Aug. 20, 2011 (file photo).

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has canceled plans to attend a United Nations meeting in Switzerland this week after his wife and five aides were denied visas.

State media on Wednesday quoted an unnamed foreign affairs official who called Switzerland's decision on the visas "highly regrettable." The official accused Switzerland of violating the U.N. host agreement and Zimbabwe's right to select its own delegation.

The Swiss Embassy in Harare has declined to comment.

The European Union and the United States have imposed travel bans and financial restrictions on Mugabe and dozens of his associates, who they accuse of human rights abuses and political repression.

Mugabe and his entourage had planned to travel to Geneva this week for a summit on information communication technology.

Among those who were denied visas are Zimbabwe's First Lady Grace Mugabe, the ministers of foreign affairs and transportation, and senior spokesman George Charamba.

A visa was granted to the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Nelson Chamisa.

According to state media, Zimbabwe has filed a complaint with U.N. and Swiss officials over the matter.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.