A joint parliamentary session of lawmakers from Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific and Europe gathered in Germany passed a resolution Wednesday expressing support for South African President Thabo Mbeki’s efforts to mediate the Zimbabwe crisis.
Sources at the ACP-EU joint session in Wiesbaden said the assembly discussed the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe and alleged human rights violations there, but no resolution on Zimbabwe itself was passed as Harare was not represented.
The joint assembly had been preceded by a diplomatic tiff in which Zimbabwe charged that Germany had denied visas to two ruling party senators belonging to the official delegation that was to take part in the gathering. The German Embassy in Harare said no visa applications had been filed on behalf of Forbes Magadu and Godfrey Chipare, however, the Zimbabwean government insisted applications had been rejected.
As a result, Harare withdrew the participation of its official delegation, although one ruling party senator and an opposition house member had received visas.
Berlin offered clarification Wednesday on the vexed question. Press officer Amelie Utz of the German Foreign Office said reference numbers quoted by the state-run Herald newspaper merely indicated that the Zimbabwean Foreign Affairs Ministry had sent a note verbale to the German Embassy noting the identify of the travelers and their trip details, but that no formal application including passports was submitted.
Michael Gahler, first vice-chairman of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that documents which were submitted by the Zimbabwean government and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change were not reviewed because assembly delegates reached a compromise not to discuss them in the absence of Harare's delegation.
Sources said Zimbabwean diplomats posted to Brussels were present as observers, but could not participate because they are not members of parliament.
Advocacy Coordinator Abel Chikomo of the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe, at the ACP-EU assembly in Wiesbaden on Wednesday, said that while no resolution on Zimbabwe was voted, the debate did keep the crisis in the international spotlight.