JOHANNESBURG, (The Southern African Times) – The South African government has said that it is “appalled” at the unjust and unwarranted decision of the African Union Commission (AUC) to grant Israel observer status in the African Union (AU).
“The African Union Commission has taken this decision unilaterally without consultations with its members.” The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) said in a statement.
“The decision to grant Israel observer status is even more shocking in a year in which the oppressed people of Palestine were hounded by destructive bombardments and continued illegal settlements of the land.”
The South African government said it will ask the Chairperson of the Commission to provide a briefing to all member States on this decision which the department said it hopes will be discussed by the Executive Council and the Assembly of Heads of States and Government.
“South Africa 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 African Union.”
“The African Union 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.” The department added.Israel on July 22 rejoined the African Union as an observer state.It enjoyed observer status in the predecessor Organization of African Unity until 2002, when the organization dissolved itself and became the African Union.Israel has relations with 46 countries in Africa, and has wide ranging partnerships and joint cooperation in many different fields including trade and aid.