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HomeSouth AfricaDiplomatic relations between South Africa and the US could sink after allegations

Diplomatic relations between South Africa and the US could sink after allegations

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.


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