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ITU: Mugabe Set for Geneva

8:15 AM -- GENEVA -- ITU Telecom World 2009 -- Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe, is set to visit the ITU Telecom event Wednesday, EuroBlog has learned.

Sarah Parkes, a spokeswoman for the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) , a United Nations agency, told Light Reading:
    We are an inclusive, global organization, the work of which cuts across political boundaries. Among our 191 Member States and our 700 private sector members, there are many conflicting views. It is not ITU’s business to judge regimes, but to bring its members together and facilitate the dialogues necessary to bring the benefits of the Information Age to communities around the world...

    President Mugabe of Zimbabwe has confirmed his intention to attend ITU Telecom World 2009. As is always the case for any Head of State, however, his exact schedule is subject to frequent and late changes.


Other heads of state have been visiting the event this week, including Rwandan president Paul Kagame. (See Matt Bross Joins Huawei.)

Mugabe, one of the world's most high profile and controversial statesmen, recently addressed the 64th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, where, according to CNN, he criticized the "filthy, clandestine, divisive antics" of Western governments, which, he claims, have been trying to destabilize the Zimbabwean government.

Most recently he has been in the news following calls from a civil rights organization that all Nestle SA products worldwide should be boycotted because the global food giant had been buying milk from Gushungo Holdings Ltd., a company owned by Mugabe's family. According to Bloomberg, at least one of the farms that produces the milk was reclaimed by the Zimbabwe government as part of a land seizure program enacted in 2000.

Economic conditions have improved in Zimbabwe recently, however, as the country's crippling hyperinflation has been brought under control and investment activities have resurfaced. Mobile operator Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Ltd. recently announced plans to expand its 3G network, reports Bloomberg.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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