Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki said on Sunday, February 19, 2023, the Israeli regime was not invited to the union’s recent summit from which its delegation was expelled.
In a statement, the AU said Israel’s observer status in the 55-nation bloc has been suspended. He also added that the Union intended to establish a committee to address the issue.
This means that the debate on whether to withdraw the accreditation of Israel from the union is still on the table.
“That means that the [observer] status [of Israel] is suspended until such time as this committee can deliberate…and so we did not invite Israeli officials to our summit,” Faki said.
Last Saturday, an Israeli delegation, led by Sharon Barley, the Deputy Director for Africa at the Foreign Ministry, was kicked out of the African Union conference hall in Addis Ababa.
Members of the security personnel asked the delegation to leave the hall. It happened during the opening ceremony of the event, Israeli media sources alleged.
Israel blamed African Union’s members for the move, accusing a “small number of extremist states like Algeria and South Africa” of being behind it.
However, Clayson Monyela, head of public diplomacy in South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation, told Reuters that it’s not about South Africa or Algeria, it’s an issue of principle.
“Until the AU takes a decision on whether to grant Israel observer status,” it cannot have the regime “sitting and observing,” he added.