Zim backs AU boycott of EU summit

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REUTERS

European Union officials have given preliminary approval to broadening the bloc's Ukraine-related sanctions to include people, companies or organizations that have profited illicitly from Russia's takeover of Crimea.

Harare - Zimbabwe on Friday called on the African Union to boycott a European Union summit for failing to invite all of the Africa bloc's leaders and lift a travel ban on the Zimbabwean first lady.

The contentious invitations to the summit in Brussels next week excluded Sudan and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, which does not have international recognition, while Egypt, which has been suspended from the AU, has got the nod, foreign ministry spokesman Joey Bimha said.

Another concern for Zimbabwe is “the issue of our first lady who was denied a visa,” Bimha told AFP, referring to the wife of President Robert Mugabe.

A travel ban on Mugabe himself, included in EU sanctions against the veteran president for some of his policies, was lifted especially for the summit

But Bimha noted that the African bloc's committee had decided that AU member states “should not attend the summit if the EU insists on interfering with the composition of Africa's delegation”.

“They have taken their decision to the chair for a final decision on whether or not the AU should attend the summit,” he said.

“We will go by that decision. We hope the AU will stick to its decision in January that they will attend on condition that all leaders of the AU are invited.”

The EU sanctions against Zimbabwe dating back to 2002 were eased in February but Mugabe and his wife remain on the European list.

Sapa-AFP


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