Zimbabwe's Mugabe says will boycott EU-Africa summit over wife's visa

HARARE Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:33pm EDT

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's wife Grace Mugabe attends a meeting of the ZANU-PF party in Mutare 275km east of the capital Harare, December 17, 2010. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's wife Grace Mugabe attends a meeting of the ZANU-PF party in Mutare 275km east of the capital Harare, December 17, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

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HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe will not attend a European Union-Africa summit next week if his wife is denied a visa to travel with him, his spokesman said on Friday.

Mugabe, 90, and his wife Grace are subject to travel bans by the EU because of allegations about human rights abuses and election-rigging but the union allowed Zimbabwe's sole ruler to attend the meeting after pressure from the African Union.

The two-day summit starts on April 2 in Brussels.

"We are sovereign and equals and the EU cannot decide on our delegations. The president, and Zimbabwe will not be there if they continue to hold out on the visa," Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba said.

EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell'Ariccia told a local radio station on Friday the bloc had not given a visa to Grace because there was no program for wives of presidents and there was no need for her to attend.

(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe and Cris Chinaka; Editing by Ed Stoddard and Angus MacSwan)

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