South Africa's ANC hails 'encouraging' summit ousting of Israel diplomat

AFP , Sunday 19 Feb 2023

South Africa's governing ANC party on Sunday welcomed the "encouraging" expulsion of a senior Israeli diplomat from the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa looks on during the 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. AFP


Sharon Bar-li, Israel's foreign ministry deputy director general for Africa, was on Saturday escorted out of the AU assembly in the Ethiopian capital.

Israel accused arch-foe Iran of orchestrating the move with help from Algeria and South Africa.

Vincent Magwenya, spokesman for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa present at the summit, demanded that Israel "substantiate their claim".

In a statement on Sunday, the African National Congress (ANC), which compares Israel to an "apartheid state", gave clear support for Bar-li's ousting.

The ANC said her removal was aimed at "thwarting an attempt to undermine the current sitting AU Summit from considering a report that is supposed to guide discussions on whether Israel must be granted an observer status".

During last year's summit, the AU failed to conclude talks on Israel's controversial accreditation as an observer country. Algeria and South Africa were particularly opposed to it.

According to the spokesperson for the chairman of the AU Commission, Ebba Kalondo, the expelled Israeli diplomat had not been personally invited to the summit.


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