South Africa’s governing ANC party welcomes the “encouraging” expulsion of an Israeli observer delegation from the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa on Saturday.
The delegation, headed by Foreign Ministry Deputy Director General for Africa Sharon Bar-Li, was escorted out of the AU assembly in the Ethiopian capital in what Jerusalem considers a grave diplomatic incident.
The Foreign Ministry said the incident showed the AU “has been taken hostage by a small number of extremist countries such as Algeria and South Africa, driven by hatred and controlled by Iran.”
The Foreign Ministry has said the charge d’affaires at the South African embassy in Israel would be summoned in the coming days for a dressing down by the ministry’s director-general Ronen Levy.
In a statement today, the African National Congress (ANC) party, which regards Israel as an “apartheid state,” gives clear support for the delegation’s ousting.
The ANC says 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.”
The issue of Israel’s observer status has caused deep discord in the 55-member bloc.
At last year’s summit, a debate on the issue was suspended in a bid to avoid a vote that would create an unprecedented rift in the Union.
Instead, a committee was set up that was supposed to give its recommendations at this year’s summit.