South Africa Denies US Allegations of Supplying Arms to Russia
by i24 News
i24 News – After accusing South Africa of supplying Russia with weapons, US Ambassador to South Africa Reuben Brigety later had to “correct any misimpressions left” when officials in Pretoria rejected the allegations.
Intelligence allegedly showed weaponry loaded onto a western-sanctioned vessel, docked at South Africa’s largest naval base, and which returned to Russia. However, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa responded harshly but did not deny the charge. Instead, he said a retired judge would investigate the matter.
South Africa’s foreign ministry then summoned their US envoy, saying he “admitted that he crossed the line and apologized unreservedly to the government and the people of South Africa”.
I was grateful for the opportunity to speak with Foreign Minister Pandor this evening and correct any misimpressions left by my public remarks. In our conversation, I re-affirmed the strong partnership between our two countries & the important agenda our Presidents have given us.
— Ambassador Reuben Brigety (@USAmbRSA) May 12, 2023
“There should be nothing to investigate,” Kobus Marais, a lawmaker with the main opposition party the Democratic Alliance, told AFP. “The president as the commander-in-chief and the minister of defense should know exactly what happened.”
Meanwhile, a Kremlin spokesperson said Putin and Ramaphosa “expressed their intentions to further intensify mutually beneficial ties in various fields.”
Russia and South Africa, along with Brazil, India, and China are associated with the BRICS economic group. In April, they announced plans to develop a new currency, with the goal of reducing their reliance on the US dollar and other Western currencies.
Putin was asked not to attend a BRICS summit or risk arrest if he traveled to South Africa for the economic group’s annual meeting this year. Instead, he was invited to participate via “Teams or Zoom from Moscow.” The International Criminal Court in the Hague issued arrest warrants in March for Putin and Russian politician Maria Lvova-Belova.