Mugabe Wants African Countries To Boycott EU-Africa Summit Over His Wife’s Visa

Written by Kevin Mwanza

From via AllAfrica

An organ of the African Union (AU) was, Wednesday, said to have urged a boycott of the European Union-Africa summit next week after President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace, was refused a visa to travel with the Zimbabwean leader.

The EU imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe, including travel bans on top government and Zanu PF officials in 2002, after a government crackdown on the opposition and the eviction of white farmers from agricultural land.

The sanctions were lifted this year but the EU maintained the travel ban against Mugabe and his wife for another year in a bid to force the veteran leader to continue to implement key reforms.

But the wily Zimbabwean leader managed to get the AU to threaten to boycott the fourth EU-Africa summit scheduled for Brussels in Belgium next week if he was not invited, forcing an EU climb-down.

Mugabe was then invited and given a travel visa, but not his wife, in a development that infuriated Harare.

EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Aldo Dell’Ariccia, explained that only those with a role to play in the meetings had been invited, suggesting Grace did not need to travel.

“We have invited those with a role to play in the meetings and the programmes of the meetings do not have any role for spouses,” said the envoy.

“Since she is under restrictive measures the host country (Belgium) has to seek a green light from the EU for her to attend. The EU has to reach a consensus but in this case that has not happened.”

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