Angola fires diplomats for attending Jerusalem event on eve of US embassy move
search

Angola fires diplomats for attending Jerusalem event on eve of US embassy move

Luanda says senior adviser’s participation in Israeli celebration ‘damaged the good name and image’ of country

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin gives a speech as he attends the official reception on the occasion of the opening of the US Embassy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, on May 13, 2018. (AFP/Gali Tibbon)
US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin gives a speech as he attends the official reception on the occasion of the opening of the US Embassy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, on May 13, 2018. (AFP/Gali Tibbon)

Angola on Monday fired two senior diplomats after one of them attended an event celebrating the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem last week, state-run media said.

Angola’s Foreign Minister Manuel Augusto dismissed João Diogo Fortunato, a senior adviser and the number 2 figure in the Angolan Embassy in Tel Aviv, according to Angolan state-run media.

Augusto also fired the director for Africa, Middle East and Regional Organizations in the Luanda foreign ministry, Joaquim do Espírito Santo, who authorized Fortunato’s attendance at the May 13 party in Jerusalem.

Fortunato was one of twelve envoys from African countries and one of 33 ambassadors and chargés d’affaires to participate in an event organized by Israel’s Foreign Ministry to celebrate the next day’s US embassy’s relocation from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

View of the US embassy in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood, Israel, May 13, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Most of the 86 countries invited to the event did not send representatives, reflecting international consternation with the US move.

By “non-observance of the procedures of the chain of internal decision-making,” the two “damaged the good name and image of Angola with countries with which it maintains historical diplomatic ties,” Augusto said.

Israeli ambassador to Angola Oren Rozenblatt leaves the Foreign Ministry in Angola after having delivered a missive declaring Israel’s MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation was suspending its program in the country in 2016. (MFA)

The dismissals came as Israel has attempted to upgrade ties with a number of African countries. The Jewish state has long had positive relations with Angola, with whom it trades mainly arms and gems, though the country was among those punished by Jerusalem in 2016 for supporting a UN Security Council resolution condemning settlement building.

The Palestinian Authority has fumed at the US embassy move, and threatened to take diplomatic action against any country seen as supporting it, including European nations that sent envoys to the Foreign Ministry event in Jerusalem.

The new US embassy in Jerusalem was inaugurated on May 14, on a day that saw massive clashes and riots on the Gaza border.

Angola was among a slew of countries to condemn Israel over the deaths of over 60 Palestinians at the border fence during the violence.

Hamas, which openly seeks to destroy Israel, has admitted that 50 of the dead were members of the terror group. Three others were Islamic Jihad members.

Israel says Hamas attempted to use the protests as cover for carrying out attacks on Israelis and breaking through the fence.

The Palestinian deaths during the protests were met with international outrage. On Friday, the UN Human Rights Council ordered an investigation into the killings. Israel said it would not cooperate and slammed the council’s anti-Israel bias, and the US castigated the move as “shameful.”

read more:
less
comments
more