Mugabe Arrives In Rome Despite EU Travel Ban

04/30/2011 02:59 pm ET | Updated Jun 30, 2011

ROME — Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has arrived in Rome, sidestepping a European Union travel ban because he is headed for Pope John Paul II's beatification, being held Sunday in Vatican City.

Mugabe's government is accused of rights violations. In 2005, he was heavily criticized for attending the pope's funeral in St. Peter's Square. The EU ban doesn't apply to the Vatican.

On that occasion, Britain's Prince Charles shook Mugabe's hand, but later said he was caught by surprise when the African leader leaned over to offer his hand.

Mugabe's flight arrived Saturday at Leonardo da Vinci airport, where he then passed through the VIP lounge. Since the funeral, he has been in Rome in 2008 and 2009 for U.N. food summits.