South Africa summons US ambassador over weapons for Russia allegations

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — South Africa’s international ministry summoned the U.S. Ambassador to a gathering Friday over allegations he made a day earlier that the nation had offered arms and ammunition to Russia for its conflict in Ukraine.

Amid the diplomatic fallout over the allegations by the US, South Africa’s Overseas Minister Naledi Pandor will even converse with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, South Africa’s Division of Worldwide Relations and Cooperation (successfully the international ministry), mentioned in an announcement posted by spokesman Clayson Monyela on Twitter.

U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Reuben Brigety mentioned at a press convention Thursday that South Africa had loaded weapons and ammunition onto a sanctioned Russian vessel on the Simon’s City Naval Base close to the town of Cape City in December final yr. The arms have been then transported to Russia, Brigety mentioned.

“We (the U.S.) are assured that weapons have been loaded into that vessel and I might guess my life on the accuracy of that assertion,” Brigety mentioned. He referred to as South Africa’s “arming” of Russia “essentially unacceptable.”

Following Brigety’s feedback, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed an investigaton was underway into the go to by the Russian cargo ship Woman R in December. That investigation had began earlier than Brigety went public together with his accusation and would use any proof U.S. intelligence officers had over the alleged arms, Ramaphosa mentioned.

However his workplace mentioned in an announcement there was “no proof” at the moment that arms have been loaded onto the ship in South Africa. The international ministry added in an announcement Friday there was “no file of an authorized arms sale by the state to Russia associated to the interval/incident in query.”

The Related Press has independently verified that the Woman R did go to the South African naval base from Dec. 6-8, as Brigety claimed. A evaluation of data by the AP has additionally proven that the Woman R is tied to an organization that has been sanctioned by the U.S. for transporting weapons for the Russian authorities and aiding its conflict effort.

The problem threatens to noticeably pressure the connection between the U.S. and certainly one of its key African companions. Monyela mentioned South Africa would concern a “demarche” towards Brigety for his allegations, a diplomatic time period that refers to a proper criticism. Monyela additionally mentioned in his Twitter put up that South Africa “values the relations we’ve with the US of America. They’re cordial, sturdy and mutually useful.”

Ramaphosa’s workplace criticized Brigety on Thursday for making the allegations public.

South Africa’s place on the conflict on Ukraine has troubled the U.S. and different Western nations ever since Africa’s most developed nation abstained final yr in a United Nations vote condemning Russia’s invasion. South Africa said it will take a impartial stance over the conflict and slightly name for a diplomatic answer and an finish to the preventing.

Critics mentioned that South Africa had successfully sided with Russia after it hosted Russian Overseas Minister Sergey Lavrov for talks in January and allowed Russian and Chinese language warships to make use of its waters for joint naval drills off its east coast in February. The workout routines coincided with the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The South African authorities has additionally indicated it will be unwilling to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin if he visits, as anticipated, for a gathering of leaders of the BRICS financial bloc in August regardless of the Worldwide Prison Court docket issuing an arrest warrant for him.

South Africa is a signatory to the worldwide court docket and is obliged to arrest Putin if he units foot on its territory.

South Africa has a historic relationship with Russia as a result of former Soviet Union’s assist for the ruling African Nationwide Congress when it was a liberation motion preventing to finish the apartheid regime of segregation that oppressed the nation’s Black majority.

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