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S. Africa Slams Israel for Blocking Summit

The South African government slammed Israel’s decision not to allow delegates from countries in the Non-Aligned Movement that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel to travel to Ramallah.

The meeting of the Non-Aligned countries in Ramallah was cancelled Sunday, following Israel’s decision not to allow delegates from Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Cuba to enter.

According to a statement from the South African delegation, headed by the country’s Deputy Minister for International Relations Ebrahim Ebrahim, Israel blocked the committee from entering the Palestinian Authority, on the pretext that four of the 13 member nations do not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

South Africa is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.

The statement reiterated South Africa’s strong support for the Palestinian cause, saying: “The committee strongly condemns this blatant action by Israel. It is a flagrant violation of the principles of international law and of Israel’s obligations as the Occupying Power. This Israeli action highlights once again to the Non-Aligned Movement and to the whole international community the plight of the Palestinian people in their struggle to achieve full independence on their territory occupied since June 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

The Ramallah meeting had been scheduled to take place right after a preliminary meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement – Palestine Committee in Jordan, which was held in order to prepare for the Non-Aligned Movement summit meeting, due to convene on Aug. 26 in Teheran.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian met with his counterpart in Pretoria last May, handing him an official invitation for South Africa’s president to participate in the summit. So far Pretoria has not indicated if President Jacob Zuma will indeed head the delegation to Iran.

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