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Archive for South Africa

Newsline: US Embassy in South Africa Allegedly Ordered Not to Assist Barack Obama Visit

Typically, former American leaders are assisted by local American embassies when traveling abroad. However, when Barack Obama went to South Africa, he found himself left out in the cold, provided only with basic security services. These claims come via The Citizen, a South African news portal. Usually, embassy staffers will be heavily involved when a former President visits because, out of office or not, it’s a great way to build relationships with the host nation. The Citizen is citing “well-placed sources,” claiming that the Embassy was ordered to stand down and to not provide Obama with any additional services. Obama visited South Africa earlier this week to honor the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth. The now-deceased leader played a vital role in ending segregation in South Africa. Currently, South Africa has no sitting Ambassador and reports indicate that many staffers have left. In all likelihood, the Embassy wouldn’t have been able to offer much assistance even if it wanted to. Still, the alleged slight by Trump appears to have been meant to send a message.



Newsline: South Africa “holding back” ambassador to Israel

South Africa will not reinstate its ambassador to Israel that it withdrew on May 14 amid the heightened violence that resulted in the death of some 60 Gazans on the day the United States opened its embassy in Jerusalem, officially recognizing the city as Israel’s capital despite tremendous resistance from Palestinians as well as internationally. “I’m very glad that I recalled the ambassador, because we could have not been in the situation that we are at now. It’s been a violation that has been going on for a long time, and we can’t be looking away,” International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says. South Africa’s foreign minister said the withdrawal was indefinite due to the situation in Gaza. Some 140 Palestinians have been killed since March 30, of which 50 have been identified as Hamas members. “We are holding back on our ambassador until we are certain that we are making headway. For us this is an unacceptable situation, completely unacceptable.” South Africa originally withdrew its ambassador in protests of what it called Israel’s “latest act of violent aggression” against civilians protesting peacefully in the Gaza Strip.


Newsline: Diplomat’s guards under investigation for shooting ‘robber’ in South Africa

Security guards protecting a diplomat are under investigation for attempted murder after they shot and wounded an alleged robber in Pretoria. A graphic video – which has gone viral – shows the diplomat and his entourage attempting to drive off shortly after the man‚ who was armed with a knife‚ was shot in Du Toit Street. Police spokesman‚ Colonel Lungelo Dlamini‚ said a case of attempted murder was under investigation. “Those who shot the knife-man were security guards for the diplomat. They were confronted by the man who they shot in the upper body‚” he said‚ declining to identify the diplomat’s nationality. He said the wounded man was taken to hospital.


Newsline: South Africa protests to US embassy over Trump “shithole” remark

South Africa has protested to the U.S. embassy in Pretoria about reported remarks by U.S. President Donald Trump that some immigrants from Africa and Haiti come from “shithole” countries. South Africa’s foreign ministry called the remarks, which sources said Trump made earlier this week during a meeting on immigration legislation, “crude and offensive” and said Trump’s subsequent denial was not categorical. “Relations between South Africa and the United States, and between the rest of Africa and the United States, must be based on mutual respect and understanding,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. It said it would ask the second-in-charge of the U.S. embassy to explain Trump’s comments on Monday.


Newsline: Iranian Embassy sayd Tehran not using South Africa as recruiting ground

The Iranian Embassy in Pretoria has categorically denied that Tehran is using South Africa as a ground for recruiting agents to carry out attacks on Israel. The embassy told the African News Agency (ANA) in a press statement that it strongly denied reports in the South African media last week following a press release from the Israeli Embassy in Pretoria, based on an intelligence report by Israel’s domestic intelligence agency the Shin Bet, that a three-man cell with South African and Iranian links had been arrested in the West Bank. The media reports stated that three Palestinians were arrested by Israeli security forces, among them the main suspect, a 29-year-old computer engineering student named Mohammed Maharmeh from the Hebron area in the southern West Bank. According to the Shin Bet, Maharmeh was recruited into Iranian intelligence by a relative, Bahar Maharmeh, who resides in South Africa.


Newsline: South Africa’s ruling party resolves to downgrade embassy in Israel

South Africa’s ruling party resolved to call on the government to immediately downgrade the country’s embassy in Israel. During the last days of the African National Congress’ biannual National Conference this week in Johannesburg, the party unanimously passed a resolution to turn the embassy in Ramat Gan into a “liaison office.” However, it is unclear whether the government in Pretoria will implement the decision. “In order to give our practical expression of support to the oppressed people of Palestine; the ANC has unanimously resolved to direct the SA government to immediately and unconditionally downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel to a Liaison Office,” the resolution passed Wednesday stated.


Newsline: South Africa mulls downgrading its embassy in Israel

If South Africa downgrades its embassy in Israel, the important trade, tourism, scientific and technological ties between the two countries would most likely be undermined while doing nothing to advance the cause of Palestinian statehood, according to a panel discussion held on the subject in Johannesburg. The discussion followed calls in July by South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress, for the downgrade of the South African Embassy in Israel to a “liaison office,” saying it was “concerned by the lack of commitment from Israel to finding a resolution to the Palestinian question.” The issue will be discussed and decided upon at the party’s National Policy Conference next month.