Diplomatic Tiff Over Walk-out At Sabina Burial

Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi summoned the US ambassador in Harare Charles Ray, German Ambassador Albrecht Conze and European Union charge de affaires to his Munhumutapa for separate meetings in which he expressed disappointment over their walk out.

Mumbengegwi confirmed at a press briefing summoning the diplomats. “We are disappointed by their behaviour during the funeral of the sister of the head of state. We did not expect such behaviour at a time of mourning,” he said.

But the diplomats hit back at a separate press briefing jointly held at the US embassy. Both the US and Germany ambassadors said they were equally disappointed by the behaviour of the Zimbabwean government to summon them when they were publicly abused and humiliated by President Mugabe who told them to go to hell.

In a direct response to Mumbengegwi a visibly angry US ambassador said: “Honourable Minister, I have heard your statement. I regret that you have chosen to make matters worse by exacerbating a problem created by the Zimbabwean side, rather than attempting to put it behind us.”

He told Mumbengegwi that he had been invited by “your” protocol to attend last Sunday’s State funeral.

“I followed the invitation in order to pay my respects. I earned disrespect in return. I became clear to me during your President’s address that I was not welcome. I had to act accordingly,” he said.

The US is said to have stormed out Mumbengegwi’s office.

At the burial of his sister Mugabe lashed out at the US and the EU, accusing them of maintaining targeted sanctions in order to removing from power.

“We say to hell, to hell, to hell with them,” said an angry Mugabe at the burial of his sister who died last Thursday but was buried on Sunday.