Africa calls for EU summit boycott – report

Cape Town – An organ of the African Union has reportedly urged a boycott of the EU-AU summit scheduled for next week in Brussels to protest what is seen as a "dictation" by the European Union on who is eligible to attend the meeting.

According to The Herald, Zimbabwe’s foreign minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said the AU Peace and Security Council met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and took a decision that the EU was in violation of an AU resolution that they do not have the right to determine the composition of Africa’s delegation.

“The ball is now in the EU’s court. It’s now up to the EU to decide whether they want the summit to proceed or not,” Mumbengegwi was quoted as saying.

The report said the EU barred Eritrea from attending the summit which is expected to run from 2-3 April. Another full AU member, the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, was also not invited.

The report said Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was also not been invited although an invite was sent to his country. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Restrictive measures

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's wife Grace, was also not granted a visa to travel with her husband.

Mugabe and his wife Grace are under an EU travel ban imposed in 2002, after a government crackdown on the opposition and the eviction of white farmers from agricultural land.

The EU had waived the visa ban on Mugabe, who is the vice-chairperson of the AU, saying it was not bound by the ban when hosting large international conferences.

A Sapa report quoted Zimbabwe’s foreign ministry permanent secretary Joey Bimha on Wednesday as saying:  “We are expecting the Southern African Development Community [SADC] and the AU to ensure that she gets a travel visa. Otherwise, the summit has to be postponed," he said.

But According to New Zimbabwe.com, EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell'Ariccia maintained that only those with a role to play in meetings at thehad been invited.

Dell'Ariccia said since Mugabe's wife was under restrictive measures, the host country (Belgium) had to seek a green light for her to attend.
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