Zimbabwe blocks Annan, Carter visit

Nov. 22, 2008 at 4:33 PM

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- The Zimbabwean government denied Saturday that it barred former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and ex-U.S. President Jimmy Carter from entry.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said Annan, Carter and Graca Machel, wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela had been told they could enter on a mutually agreed date in the future, the Sunday News reported. Mumbengegwi said Annan did not notify the government of the planned visit.

Carter, Annan and Macela, part of a group called the Elders, said they planned a humanitarian mission to assess the situation in Zimbabwe and were not involved in efforts to form a unity government. They said they would remain in Johannesburg through the weekend gathering information on Zimbabwe.

The three met Saturday with Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Chane, the Zimbabwean Eye reported.

Annan said earlier that he had been told he could not enter Zimbabwe because he had backed sanctions against the government of President Robert Mugabe, the BBC said.

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