19/03/2013 10:12 GMT | Updated 19/03/2013 10:14 GMT

Robert Mugabe Shakes Hands With European Council President's Wife

The wife of one of Europe's most powerful politicians has been pictured shaking hands and smiling with Zimbabwe leader, Robert Mugabe.

Geertrui Windels, wife of the President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, met Mugabe at the Inauguration Mass for Pope Francis in St Peter's Square on Tuesday.

robert mugabe

Pleased to meet you: Van Rompuy's wife Geertrui shakes hands with Mugabe

It's not the first time senior political figures have been pictured making contact with the controversial Mugabe.

In 2004 the then foreign secretary Jack Straw was forced to defend shaking hands with Mugabe.

According to reports, Straw said "nice to see you" during the meeting in New York.