Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe arrived in Rome for the beatification of the late Pope John Paul II, airport officials said Saturday, despite his EU-wide travel ban for alleged human rights abuses.
The Vatican did not personally invite Mugabe to the Sunday event, said the Rev. Federico Lombardi of the Holy See Press office.
But a diplomatic relationship exists between Zimbabwe and the Vatican, a sovereign state that is not a member of the European Union.
“It (the Vatican) cannot tell Mugabe not to come if he wants to take part, just like it wouldn’t tell no to (U.S. President Barack) Obama or (French President Nicolas) Sarkozy, if they had wanted to come,” Lombardi said.