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Zimbabwe boycotts EU summit over First Lady visa

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President Mugabe’s wife, Grace, left out of EU Africa summit as EU fails to “reach consensus” on her

Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe are to boycott an EU summit in Belgium because Grace Mugabe, the First Lady, was denied a visa to enter the union.

The EU has refused to lift the sanctions on the First Lady who had earned herself the nickname the “First Shopper” from her lavish shopping sprees in Europe before the travel ban. The President, though, has been permitted to attend.

In response, Robert Mugabe has instructed the Zimbabwe delegation to abscond from what the EU’s ambassador in Harare termed ‘the highest level of political dialogue between the two continents”.

Financial and travel restrictions were imposed on Mugabe and his closest political peers in 2002 but, as the West has sought to re-engage with Mr Mugabe, most of the restrictions have been lifted so that only he and his wife remain on the EU list.

Aldo Dell’Ariccia, the EU’s ambassador in Harare, defended the EU’s position. “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,” Mr Dell’Ariccia said. “There is no programme for spouses at the summit.”
He said the EU was asked to grant Mrs Mugabe a visa. “The EU has to reach a consensus but in this case that has not happened,” he added.

Source: The Telegraph

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