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February 18, 2023 11:26 am

Israel Denounces ‘Severe’ Incident of Diplomat’s Expulsion from African Union Summit

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avatar by i24 News

The African Union logo is seen outside the AU headquarters building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, November 8, 2021. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

i24 News – Israel’s team was kicked out of the African Union conference hall in Addis Ababa Saturday morning, triggering a fierce denunciation from Jerusalem.

The team included Sharon Bar-Li, the Deputy Director for Africa at the Foreign Ministry, as well as other participants. It is understood that the incident took place during the opening ceremony of the event. The security personnel of the conference allegedly approached the members of the Israeli delegation and asked them to leave the hall.

A spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry described the incident as “severe,” noting Bar-li was “an accredited observer with an entry tag,” adding that the members of the delegation learned that South Africa and Algeria were behind the move, according to Israel’s Walla news site.

“Israel views seriously the incident in which the deputy for Africa, Ambassador Sharon Bar-Li, was removed from the African Union hall despite her status as an accredited observer with access badges,” said ministry spokesperson Lior Hayat, according to The Times of Israel. “It is sad to see that the African Union has been taken hostage by a small number of extremist countries such as Algeria and South Africa, driven by hatred and controlled by Iran.”

“We call on the African countries to stand against these actions that harm the organization of the African Union itself and the entire continent,” he said.

The 55-member group is deeply divided over Israel’s observer status. A discussion of the matter was put on hold at the summit last year in an effort to prevent a vote that would have caused a historic rift in the Union. Instead, a committee was formed, and it was mandated to present its recommendations at the summit this year.

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