Zimbabwe

Mugabe delegation denied UN visas

2011-10-26 11:13

Special Report

Harare - President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has been forced to cancel a trip to Geneva for a United Nations meeting this week after his wife and some of his aides were denied visas, state media said on Wednesday.

Western countries, including the United States and the European Union, imposed travel and financial sanctions on Mugabe and senior officials from his Zanu-PF party almost a decade ago over charges of rights abuses and vote rigging.

But the sanctions, which Mugabe argues are punishment for his seizures and redistribution of white-owned commercial farms to landless blacks, have traditionally not been applied for meetings organised by the United Nations.

On Wednesday, the official Herald newspaper said Mugabe had scrapped a trip to Switzerland for a summit of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) after his wife Grace, Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, chief spokesperson George Charamba and three other senior officials were refused travel permits.

The Zimbabwe government has lodged a protest with both the Swiss government and the United Nations, and the Herald quoted a foreign affairs official as saying:

"We noted that this was a highly regrettable decision which was a clear violation of the United Nations headquarters host agreement and Zimbabwe's sovereign right to determine the composition of its delegation."

Mugabe's spokespersons were not immediately available for comment.

The Swiss embassy in Harare confirmed some visa applications were turned down but declined to comment on charges that Switzerland had joined the EU's position against Zanu-PF although it is not a member of the EU.

Changing times

State media quoted Charamba as saying Zimbabwe had noted the Swiss position as a sign of changing times, and, without giving any details, promised an appropriate diplomatic response.

Mugabe's Zanu-PF has in the past threatened to target for seizure foreign-owned firms from countries supporting sanctions against Zimbabwe, and is now seeking to force mining firms to transfer majority shareholding to local blacks.

Early this year, Zanu-PF launched an anti-sanctions campaign, collecting signatures countrywide, and officials say it will soon approach international courts to challenge the legality of the current sanctions.

Mugabe, who was forced into a power-sharing government with rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, says sanctions against his party are illegal, not targeted as argued by Western powers.

The 87-year-old leader says the sanctions have hit state-owned companies and Zimbabwe's ability to borrow money abroad.

Critics say Zimbabwe's economic recovery from a decade-long crisis caused largely by Zanu-PF policies will be slow and hard for as long as Mugabe pursues his controversial black empowerment programmes.

- Reuters

NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
54 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

40% off top appliances!

Save 40% on the top 10 appliances on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save 20% on Camping gear!

Buy 4 camping items and save 20%. While stocks last. Shop now!

Fifty Shades of Grey!

This great read will captivate you from cover to cover and leave you itching for more. Get your copy now!

20% off braai items!

Save 20% when you buy 2 braai items. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Pampers!

Save 30% when you buy 3 or more selected pampers products. While stocks last. Shop now!

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong focus on sharing the optimistic energy with your loved one. You are in the mood to go large and impress your...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.