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2023-02-21 at 17:19 #394454Nat QuinnKeymaster
International relations and co-operation minister Naledi Pandor has taken offence at the notion that South Africa was partly responsible for the removal of an Israeli representative at the AU assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the weekend.
“The notion that I stand up and remove any person in the hall is quite insulting and demeaning,” she said in a video circulating on social media.
Pandor was clarifying reports that a senior Israeli diplomat was removed from the AU annual summit on Saturday, after a dispute over Israel’s accreditation to the bloc escalated.
Reuters reported that images posted online showed AU security personnel confronting the diplomat during the opening ceremony of the summit, before she left the auditorium.
According to the report. Ebba Kalondo, spokesperson for the AU’s commission chairperson, said the diplomat had been removed because she was not the duly accredited Israeli ambassador to Ethiopia, the official who was expected.
But Israel blamed the incident on South Africa and Algeria, two key nations in the 55-country bloc, saying they were holding the AU hostage and were driven by “hate”.
Senior Israeli diplomat ejected from AU summit as row escalates
A senior Israeli diplomat on Saturday was removed from the AU annual summit in Ethiopia, as a dispute over Israel’s accreditation to the bloc …
NEWS2 days ago
Israel’s foreign ministry said the charge d’affaires at South Africa’s embassy would be summoned for a reprimand.
Clarifying the matter, Pandor told Asharq News she had read about the removal of a person “who was not authorised to be in the assembly opening ceremony. And I was very surprised to hear the reference, in very pejorative words to South Africa … I am not a security official at the AU nor do I work for the administration of the commission and so the notion that I stand up and remove any person in a hall is quite insulting and demeaning.
“And so, I was very surprised. I believe that the Israeli colleague is probably aware that we have objected to the commission chairperson’s unilateral decision to grant Israel observer status in our union.
“We have objected to this because we believe that the continued occupation of the land of Palestinian people, as well as the building of new settlements, the prohibition on movements and that Palestinian people have to carry ID documents to travel on different roads from other persons living in the area, that they cannot build their own homes and be assured that their land will not be occupied.”
These, she said, were all infringements of the contents of the AU Union charter.
“And so on the grounds of Israel not reflecting the values, principles and objectives of the AU … we have expressed the view that they cannot be an observer in our organisation.”
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