Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Zimbabwe's mines minister barred from Britain

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe's mines minister, who is on a list of officials close to President Robert Mugabe barred from the West, has been kept from attending an investment conference in London, state radio and British officials said Tuesday.

British officials in Harare said Obert Mpofu was denied a visa to travel to the African mining meeting where he was scheduled to make a speech Tuesday.

Mpofu is among politicians and leaders of Mugabe's party targeted under travel restrictions imposed by Britain, the European Union and the United States. The travel restrictions, freezes on overseas bank accounts held by Mugabe cronies, and a study ban keeping their children from enrolling in foreign schools are meant to punish Mugabe for abusing human and democratic rights.

State radio said leaders of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party accused Western governments of arrogance for barring party members from participating in a re-engagement campaign led by former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is prime minister in a coalition government formed in February and is and currently touring Western capitals.

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