Panafrican News Agency

Pretoria cools relations with Israel

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) – International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu confirmed here Sunday that South Africa's ambassador to Israel who has been recalled will not be replaced, an official source told PANA.

Sisulu said the decision to not replace ambassador Sisa Ngombane formed part of Pretoria’s cooling relations with Israel, which has a long history of backing the former apartheid government.

Pretoria last year decided to downgrade the Israeli embassy to a liaison office, in line with a resolution taken by the ruling African National Congress in 2017.

Ngombane was subsequently withdrawn following the killings of a number of protesting Palestinians by the Israeli army in Gaza.

"We are in the process of following the downgrade resolution of the ruling party, and stage one has been completed," Sisulu said.

She added that the Tel Aviv office would have “no political mandate, no trade mandate and no development cooperation mandate”.

At the United Nations, South Africa continues to press for Israel’s withdrawal from the territories it occupied in 1967.


–0–   PANA    CU/RA   7Apr2019