The co-president of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the British MEP Mrs Glenys Kinnock, wife of the former Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock, takes issue with our January story on the ACP-EU wrangle over two Zimbabwean ministers.
The piece written by Francois Misser in the January edition of New African (page 24, ACP EU -- Enough is Enough) represents the worst kind of shoddy, sensationalist journalism. At no time did he make contact with me to verify the claims which he made both about the European Parliament and about my role in the events surrounding the cancellation of November's ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.
It is clear from the biased and factually incorrect account which he gave that it was never his intention to question his sources, because there is no evidence that anyone he spoke to was present at any of the meetings of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) Bureau.
He displays ignorance about what occurred as a result of the fact that two ZANU-PF Ministers, both of whom are named on the EU'S travel ban list, were sent by President Mugabe to represent Zimbabwe at the JPA. It is of course the case that it was an act of direct provocation by Mugabe -- clearly, if members of parliament who are not on the travel ban list had been nominated, then there would not have been a problem.
In the two weeks after we knew of the banned ministers' inclusion in the Zimbabwean delegation, there was repeated contact with the Belgian authorities, with member state representations, and with the president of the European Parliament, Pat Cox.
The decision to exclude the two Zimbabwean ministers from our parliament building was taken by the leaders of the political groups in the parliament at the Conference of Presidents on Thursday 21 November--by which time, the ACP delegations had arrived in Brussels.
These time scales, which were dictated by the issuing of visas by the Belgian authorities, dearly precluded any pre-emptive action by me or by anyone else. President Cox stated clearly in his letter to me and my co-president, Mr Houngbedji MP, on 21 November, that the basis upon which the decision was made to the two Zimbabwean ministers on the travel ban list from the premises of the European Parliament was consistent with the position adopted in the Parliamentary Resolution of 5 September 2002. The view was that it was necessary to follow through the European Parliament's decisions in a consistent way.
In his letter, President Cox...