Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has arrived in Rome, sidestepping a European Union travel ban because he is attending Pope John Paul II’s beatification, being held in Vatican City tomorrow.
Mr Mugabe’s government is accused of human rights violations.
In 2005, he was heavily criticised for attending the Pope’s funeral in St Peter’s Square. The EU ban does not apply to the Vatican.
On that occasion, the Prince of Wales shook Mr Mugabe’s hand, but later said he had been caught by surprise when the African leader leaned over to offer his hand.
Mr Mugabe’s flight arrived at Leonardo da Vinci airport today, where he then passed through the VIP lounge.
Since the Pope’s funeral, he has been to Rome for UN food summits in 2008 and 2009.