Algeria and South Africa are to blame, according to Israel’s foreign ministry, which labels them as “extreme governments dominated by Iran.”
On February 18, Sharon Bar-Li, the Israeli foreign ministry’s deputy director for Africa, was escorted from the African Union meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
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An online video surfaced of Sharon Bar-Li, the Israeli foreign ministry’s deputy director for the African Division, being led away from the two-day convention’s opening ceremony.
A non-transferable invitation to the meeting was only extended to Aleli Admasu, Israel’s ambassador to the African Union, an AU official said. The one who was “asked to depart” was not invited.
According to unnamed diplomatic authorities quoted by the newspaper Haaretz, Bar-Li obtained the necessary authorization to attend the meeting, and talks are currently taking place to allow her to return.
According to the Israeli foreign ministry, the AU was “held prisoner” by Algeria and South Africa, two “extreme states” that were “dominated by Iran,” and the incident was caused by them.
The ministry warned African nations in a statement that these efforts undermine the African Union as an organisation and the continent as a whole.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesman, Vincent Magwenya, responded to a question concerning Israel’s charges by saying: “They must substantiate their claim.”
Algeria and the African Union did not address the problem right away.
After 20 years of diplomatic effort, Israel received AU observer status in 2021, which sparked a dispute among the organization’s 55 members.
Israel previously had the position within the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), but after the OAU was dissolved in 2002 and the AU was established, its attempts to recover it were consistently thwarted.
Last year, Algeria was the driving force behind diplomatic efforts to have Israel’s observer status revoked.
The pan-African alliance delayed voting on the final decision until the summit this year. In light of Israel’s “racist system,” the Palestinian Authority, which was granted observer status in the AU in 2013, has repeatedly asked African leaders to terminate Israel’s membership. According to the AU, the bloc is linked with 70 non-African embassies and non-governmental organisations.
Relationships between Israel and several African countries have developed over the past ten years, particularly under Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israel hits out at Iran
Following the expulsion of the ministry’s deputy director of African affairs, Sharon Bar Li, from the African Union summit in Addis Abeba on Saturday at the request of South Africa and Algeria, the Israeli Foreign Ministry announced in a statement that it would summon the South African ambassador for a reprimand .
The ambassador Sharon Bar-li was forced to leave despite the fact that he is “an accredited observer with an admittance card,” according to a statement from Israel’s Foreign Ministry. The statement also accused Iran of orchestrating the expulsion and described the situation as “serious.” Between January 16 and February 19, 2023, there were multiple occurrences of the 36th Ordinary Session of the African Union Summit, with the theme: The Year of AfCFTA’ Acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation.
Israel: AU is “dominated by Iran and propelled by enmity.”
The conflict broke out on the first day of the summit in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, when leaders gathered to talk about a number of problems affecting the African continent, including the drought in the Horn of Africa, political unrest in the Sahel, and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Leaders of the seven-nation East African Community urged for armed groups to leave seized regions in the eastern DRC by the end of next month before the controversy over the expulsion of an Israeli representative scuttled the conference. The Israeli Foreign Ministry stated in a statement that it would summon the South African ambassador for a reprimand following the expulsion of the ministry’s deputy director for African affairs, Sharon Bar Li, from the African Union summit in Addis Abeba on Saturday at the request of South Africa and Algeria.