THE government of South Africa (SA) has objected to the African Union (AU)'s decision to give Israel an observer's status in the union.
July 30, 2021
3 min read
SA slams AU
SA Foreign Affairs Minister, Naledi Pandor
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The International Relations and Cooperation Department of SA said the government is appalled by the unjust and unwarranted decision of the AU Commission to grant Israel the observer status in the commission.
It said the AU Commission has taken this decision unilaterally without consultations with its members and the decision is even more shocking in a year in which the oppressed people of Palestine were hounded by destructive bombardments and continued illegal settlement of their land.
“The African Union strenuously objected to the deaths of Palestinians and the destruction of civilian infrastructure. The decision by the AU Commission in this context is inexplicable,” it said.
The department said the unjust actions committed by Israel offend the letter and spirit of the Charter of the AU, adding that the AU embodies the aspirations of all Africans and reflects their confidence that it can lead the continent through the practical expression of the goals of the charter, especially on issues relating to self-determination and decolonisation.
It said it plans to ask the Commission's Chairperson to provide a briefing to all member states on this decision which it hopes will be discussed by the Executive Council and the Assembly of Heads of States and Government.
It further stated that SA firmly believes that as long as Israel is not willing to negotiate a peace plan without preconditions, it should not have observer status in the AU.
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It added that the AU cannot be a party in any way to plans and actions that would see the ideal of Palestinian statehood reduced into balkanised entities devoid of true sovereignty, without territorial contiguity and with no economic viability.
Israel, which maintains relations with 46 African countries, had observer status within the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) until its transformation into the AU in 2002.
Algeria has also condemned the AU’s decision.
“Taken without the benefit of broad prior consultations with all member states, this decision has neither the vocation nor the capacity to legitimise the practices and behaviour of the said new observer which are totally incompatible with the values, principles, and objectives enshrined in the ‘Constitutive Act of the African Union,” said the Algerian Foreign Ministry in a statement.
Efforts to get Lesotho's stand on the matter were unsuccessful. LeNA