Cape Town - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has been cleared to attend the African Union and European Union summit scheduled for Brussels in April, but "this doesn’t alter the fact that he is on targeted sanctions together with his Zanu-PF cronies", EU ambassador Aldo Dell’Ariccia has reportedly said.
Last week, African leaders attending a summit in Addis Ababa resolved that they were not going to attend the meeting in Brussels if Mugabe, who was elected AU's first deputy chairperson, was not invited.
But according to Dell’Ariccia, Mugabe had in fact been invited along with other African leaders, a Zimbabwe Independent report said on Friday.
Dell’Ariccia said Mugabe’s attendance did not, however, signal a softening of the EU position on targeted measures imposed on Zimbabwe, nor did it suggest the measures have been ineffective.
He said there were international laws that needed to be respected and these made exceptions for heads of state that were on targeted sanctions to be allowed to attend the summits and other functions.
Previous EU-AU summits have been rocked by controversy over Mugabe, who is banned from travelling to Europe.
The summit is expected to focus on strategic priorities under the Joint Africa-EU Strategy.
The strategy seeks to enhance political co-operation and partnerships at all levels.