December 2, 2023

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US envoy accuses South Africa of supplying arms to Russia; Pretoria fumes over allegations

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The US envoy to South Africa, on Thursday (Might 11), accused the nation of supplying weapons to Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine regardless of the nation’s impartial stance. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa calls the allegations “disappointing” in a strongly worded assertion. 

What did the US envoy say?

The US ambassador to South Africa, Reuben Brigety, in a press convention, mentioned that Washington believes Pretoria had despatched weapons and ammunition aboard the Russian freighter that docked at a Cape City naval base in December. “We’re assured that weapons have been loaded onto that vessel and I might wager my life on the accuracy of that assertion,” mentioned Brigety. 

Washington has famous the docking of a Russian cargo ship Woman R in Simon’s City between December 6 and December 8, 2022, “which we’re assured uploaded weapons, ammunition … because it made its means again to Russia,” mentioned the US envoy to South Africa. He added, “The arming of Russia by South Africa…is essentially unacceptable.”

He additionally spoke about how senior US officers have “profound considerations” about South Africa not respecting its professed stance of non-alignment and neutrality over the Russia-Ukraine battle, including that this “doesn’t recommend to us the actions of a non-aligned nation,” as quoted by Reuters.  

“The arming of the Russians is extraordinarily critical, and we don’t think about this concern to be resolved,” mentioned Brigety. Notably, South Africa is one in all Russia’s most necessary allies on the continent, nevertheless, it has mentioned that it’s neutral to the battle and has abstained from voting on a number of UN resolutions in reference to the continuing battle. 

How has South Africa responded?

Following these allegations, president Ramaphosa’s workplace hit again and referred to as it “disappointing” that the US envoy had “adopted a counter-productive public posture”. 

“The Ambassador’s remarks undermine the spirit of cooperation and partnership that characterised the current engagements between US authorities officers and a South African official delegation,” mentioned Ramaphosa’s spokesman Vincent Magwenya, in an announcement. 

He added, that whereas there isn’t a proof supplied to help these allegations by the US, “the federal government has undertaken to institute an unbiased enquiry to be led by a retired choose.” 

Earlier this 12 months, South Africa additionally held a joint army train with Russia and China which the US and different nations within the West expressed considerations about. Moreover, a sanctioned Russian army cargo airplane landed at an air drive base in the midst of the night time to ship what defence authorities described as “diplomatic mail.”

South Africa’s vow to probe allegations a ‘welcome step’ 

Throughout a briefing on Thursday, the US State Division deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel with out repeating the allegations informed reporters that Washington had critical considerations in regards to the docking of the ship at a South African naval port. 

US officers had additionally raised these considerations immediately with a number of South African officers, he added. “The deeply regarding piece of that is the docking of a sanctioned Russian vessel at a South African naval port,” mentioned Patel. 

Addressing the promise of an investigation into the US envoy’s allegations, the state division deputy spokesperson mentioned, “It actually can be a welcome step.” 

(With inputs from businesses) 


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