International relations minister Naledi Pandor is still fuming after US ambassador Reuben Brigety caused a stir when he accused the country of loading arms onto Lady R.
The media understands Pandor used “strong words” to express her disappointment at Brigety’s conduct after South Africa issued a démarche — the highest diplomatic protest and the first against a top US diplomat — to express its displeasure.
A source with intimate knowledge of the meeting said Pandor expressed her disappointment at the remarks made without proof that South Africa was selling arms to Russia. “Pandor told him the remarks flew in the face of the good relations between South Africa and the US, and against the co-operation that Dirco has been providing.
“Many meetings were held with the ambassador in which a process of communication was agreed upon between the diplomatic channels and he did not use all of those,” the source said. “When you démarche someone, and especially when it is done by the minister, it shows the seriousness of the matter.”
Immediately after expressing her concerns, Pandor left the room to take a call from Blinken, and Brigety was left to speak to senior department managers.
Brigety partially walked back his remarks after the meeting, tweeting on Friday evening: “I was grateful to speak with foreign minister Pandor and correct any misimpressions left by my public remarks. In our conversation I reaffirmed the strong partnership between our two countries and the important agenda our Presidents have given us.”
A minister who spoke to the Sunday Times on condition of anonymity said issuing a démarche sent a strong signal to the US that Brigety could be expelled if he continued to publicly slander the country.
Content created and supplied by: SheSays (via Opera