Pandor says SA wants AU to rescind Israel's observer status
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Cape Town – International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor has revealed that the AU will discuss the decision of the union’s commission chairperson to grant Israel observer status in the organisation.
Pandor said the matter would come before the AU in October during a session.
She said at the meeting of the AU they would push for the body to rescind this decision.
South Africa and other countries had objected to the decision of the AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki to grant Israel observer status in the continental body.
Pandor, who was replying to a written parliamentary question from the EFF, said they still object to this decision.
“The government of the Republic of South Africa has formally lodged an objection to the unilateral decision by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission to grant the State of Israel observer status to the African Union. Consequently, the matter has been placed on the agenda of the AU executive council that will convene on October 13 and 14, 2021.
“South Africa and other like-minded countries that have lodged objections will, at the executive council meeting, vigorously pursue the conviction that the AU must, as a matter of urgency, rescind the decision on Israel's observer status, unless and until it complies with all United Nations (UN) resolutions concerning its withdrawal from all occupied territories and give effect to the self-determination of the Palestinian People,” she said.
Asked whether the government would shut down the embassy of Israel, Pandor said it was not on the table.
South Africa downgraded its mission in Israel to a liaison office after a resolution of the ANC in Nasrec in 2017.
“South Africa maintains diplomatic relations with Israel and as per the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Israel has an embassy in South Africa and South Africa maintains an embassy in Israel. There are no plans to request the closure of the Israeli embassy in South Africa,” said Pandor.