ADDIS ABABA, Feb 18 — A senior Israeli diplomat was on Saturday removed from the African Union’s annual summit in Ethiopia, as a dispute over Israel’s accreditation to the bloc escalated.
Images posted online showed AU security personnel confronting the diplomat during the opening ceremony of the summit, before she left the auditorium.
“Israel looks harshly upon the incident in which the deputy director for Africa, Ambassador Sharon Bar-Li, was removed from the African Union hall despite her status as an accredited observer with entrance badges,” the foreign ministry said.
Ebba Kalondo, the spokesperson for the African Union’s commission chairman, 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-nation bloc, saying they were holding the AU hostage, and were driven by “hate”.
“We call on the countries of Africa to stand up against these actions that harm the organization of the African Union itself and the entire continent,” the Israeli foreign ministry said.
South Africa rejected the claim, saying Israel’s application for observer status at the AU has not been decided upon by the bloc.
“Until the AU takes a decision on whether to grant Israel observer status, you cannot have the country sitting and observing,” Clayson Monyela, head of public diplomacy in South Africa’s department of international relations, told Reuters.
“So, it’s not about South Africa or Algeria, it’s an issue of principle.”
South Africa’s ruling party has historically been a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause.
The Algerian delegation at the summit was not immediately available for a comment. — Reuters
3 thoughts on “Israeli diplomat ejected from African Union summit”
No this is not right. It should have been handled diplomatically. It is just one of those decisions that can be deemed impulsive and immature. She should be allowed the first day and be told not to come back the next day because she is not accredited. But as an experienced diplomat and familiar about diplomatic protocols I don’t understand why she decided to go there anyway. But she should not have been escorted out as a gate crusher at a rowdy rap concert. Grow up folks!!!
AU should BE 100% African. None African countries have no place in the AU. Consequently, EU, UN, Israel, Palestine, etc. should not be there. Does Africa have a seat in the EU Parliament, Israeli Knesset, etc.? Does Africa have a seat at the UN Security Council? Africa should operate independently of all of them.
Africa might be growing hind legs, finally. An Israeli observer is less than essential, in my view.
Palestinians and Mandela’s ANC developed comradeship and supported each other to the hilt. Recently, the last few days, South Africa is taking part in military drills with Russia. (The Soviet Union was also a staunch supporter of ANC against Apartheid.)