Accessibility links

Breaking News

Zimbabwe's Mugabe Arrives in Rome for Pope John Paul II Beatification

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, April 14, 2011
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, April 14, 2011

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has arrived in Rome to attend Sunday's beatification ceremony for the late Pope John Paul II in Vatican City.

Mugabe's trip to the Vatican is exempt from a European Union travel ban against him. The 9-year-old ban was imposed because of allegations of human rights abuses during his leadership.

The ban prevents Mugabe, 87, from travel to the EU, but the Vatican is a sovereign state and not part of the bloc. The Zimbabwean leader has been permitted to travel to the Vatican through Italy.

The beatification ceremony Mugabe is attending represents the last step before sainthood for John Paul.

Mugabe attended the pope's funeral in 2005 at the Vatican, where Britain's Prince Charles shook hands with him in a move that sparked controversy.

He also came to Rome in 2008 and 2009 for United Nations food summits.

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