Mugabe to attend special Vatican Mass


President Robert Mugabe will attend Sunday’s beatification ceremony for the late pope John Paul II at the Vatican despite being banned from travel to the European Union (EU).

German ambassador to Zimbabwe Albrecht Conze said his country had not raised any objection to President Mugabe’s visit.

He said his country was not aware of any other EU member state which had raised objection to the scheduled visit. Conze said the German government was informed by their Italian counterparts that President Mugabe wanted visas for at least 50 people, including the First Lady.

“Germany has raised no objections and is not aware of any European country which has raised any objections,” Conze said. Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said yesterday President Mugabe was on the list of world leaders who have confirmed their presence.

“Zimbabwe is a state with which the Holy See has diplomatic relations. There is therefore nothing to hide,” Lombardi said.

The Vatican is a sovereign State that is not part of the EU, although President Mugabe would have to transit through the Italian capital, Rome.

There is a treaty that allows individuals wanting to travel to the Vatican to pass through Italy.