BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Somali Swahili French Great Lakes Hausa Portugeuse
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Africa  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Saturday, 8 June, 2002, 20:30 GMT 21:30 UK
Mugabe arrives for Rome food summit
Boy with maize crop
Maize crops have failed across Zimbabwe
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has arrived in Rome for a United Nations conference, despite a ban on him travelling to Europe, according to officials.

The restriction was imposed by the European Union, but under United Nations rules, heads of state are allowed access to all UN conferences.


It is ironic and laughable that a person who has masterminded the impoverishment... will have the gall to go to a food conference

Zimbabwe's MDC opposition
The heads of state and ministers attending the four-day meeting are expected to commit themselves to further efforts to reduce the number of hungry people worldwide.

Opposition leaders in Zimbabwe have expressed anger that Mr Mugabe is apparently being allowed to take part when, they say, he is responsible for causing starvation in his own country.

The summit takes place against the background of a worsening food crisis in southern Africa, including Zimbabwe.

An estimated 12.8 million people in six countries are at risk of starvation because of drought, floods, government mismanagement and economic instability.

Colonial legacy

"It is ironic and laughable that a person who has masterminded the impoverishment of the country and the mass starvation of children ... will have the gall to go to a food conference", Welshman Ncube, Secretary-General of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change told The Times newspaper of London.

President Robert Mugabe
Mugabe: Also travelled to New York despite a US ban

According to some reports, Mr Mugabe is expected to strongly attack the legacy of colonialism and meet UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan when he attends sessions on Monday and Tuesday.

There has been no official comment from the Italian Government on the anticipated arrival of Mr Mugabe and other Zimbabwean ministers.

Last month, Mr Mugabe attended the world children's summit in New York, despite a travel ban imposed by the United States as part of international sanctions against the Zimbabwean leader and senior officials.

In April, the head of Zimbabwe's police force was allowed to visit France, again despite a ban on travel.

Emergency measures

According to a study by UN agencies last month, Zimbabwe's maize harvest this year is expected to be slightly more than 500,000 tonnes - just over a quarter of the average crop produced in the last decade.

The shortfall is already being felt in urban and remote rural areas.

The government has declared a state of disaster as worsening shortages threaten widespread famine.

It has blamed the crisis on a drought, but the World Food Programme says agricultural disruption caused by the confiscation of white-owned farms has also contributed to the problem.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Grant Ferrett
"Mr Mugabe's critics in Zimbabwe are enraged"

Key stories

IN DEPTH

CLICKABLE GUIDE

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO

FORUM
See also:

07 Jun 02 | Africa
23 Feb 02 | Africa
18 Feb 02 | Business
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes