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South Africa rejects arms to Russia accusations, summons US ambassador

South Africa has rejected accusation by US ambassador Reuben Brigety, that it is supplying weapons to Russia. The allegation dates back to December, when Brigety claimed that the weapons were loaded into a Russian ship that docked secretly near Cape town.

South Africa could face Western sanctions if the accusation were confirmed.

South Africa Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has announced that political steps will be taken to reprimand US ambassador to SA, Reuben Brigety, for not following proper diplomatic channels to express his country’s concerns over arms allegedly being sent to Russia from SA.

Communicating this, spokesperson of the department, Clayson Monyela said “DIRCO will today démarche the USA Ambassador to South Africa following his remarks yesterday. We’ll issue a detailed statement after the meeting.”

A démarche is a diplomatic term to summons and protest a representative of a foreign country.

South Africa rejects arms to Russia accusations, summons US ambassadorHe added that Minister Naledi Pandor would also speak to her USA counterpart, Secretary Antony Blinken, this afternoon on SA’s decision to take action against Brigety.

Ramaphosa speaking at a meeting with some US officials and presidential delegation for South Africa to clarify her position on the war, he said there was no evidence that weapon were loaded in the ship when it docked in Simon’s Town naval base last December.

South Africa has undertaken to institute an independent inquiry led by a retired judge into an alleged arms shipment to Russia, South Africa’s presidency said on Thursday.

The US has been critical for months about South Africa’s continued cosy relationship with Russia.

State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel told journalists on Thursday that the US had previously raised concerns about the Lady R with numerous South African officials.

He said the US would speak out against “any country taking steps to support Russia’s illegal and brutal war in Ukraine”, but would not say whether there would be any repercussions for South Africa if the claims proved to be true.

Washington has also expressed concerns about South Africa’s participation in military exercises with Russia and China during the anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine.

The naval exercises took place over 10 days in February and were criticised by opposition figures as an endorsement of the Russian invasion.

The South African authorities denied the war games were provocatively timed to coincide with the one-year anniversary and said the country routinely hosts similar drills with other nations, including France and the US.

South Africa previously abstained from a UN vote condemning the invasion. It also refused to join the US and Europe in imposing sanctions on Russia.

South Africa Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has announced that political steps will be taken to reprimand US ambassador to SA, Reuben Brigety, for not following proper diplomatic channels to express his country’s concerns over arms allegedly being sent to Russia from SA.

Communicating this, spokesperson of the department, Clayson Monyela said “DIRCO will today démarche the USA Ambassador to South Africa following his remarks yesterday. We’ll issue a detailed statement after the meeting.”

A démarche is a diplomatic term to summons and protest a representative of a foreign country.

He added that Minister Naledi Pandor would also speak to her USA counterpart, Secretary Antony Blinken, this afternoon on SA’s decision to take action against Brigety.

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