Thursday, May 23, 2024

Why an Israeli diplomat was escorted from AU summit

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

African Union officials have been explaining why an Israeli diplomat was escorted from the African Union heads of state summit on Saturday.

Sharon Bar-li, an Isreali diplomat was seen being escorted from the summit auditorium, sparking divergent reactions on social media.

Video circulating online shows her being walked out of the meeting in Ethiopia by a security guard.

After a short discussion, Ms Bar-li, who is the deputy director general for Africa at Israel’s foreign ministry, then left alongside a security guard.

“Israel views seriously the incident in which… Ambassador Sharon Bar-li, was removed from the African Union hall despite her status as an accredited observer with access badges,” foreign ministry spokesperson Lior Hayat is quoted by the Times of Israel as saying.

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Hayat had blamed South Africa and Algeria for pushing for the diplomat’s removal describing it a move “driven by hatred”.

But the African Union has said Bar-li was not the person accredited to represent Israel.

An AU official has said Ms Bar-li was “asked to leave” as she had not been invited to be there and the only invitation, which was not transferable, was given to Israel’s AU ambassador Aleli Admasu.

“It is regrettable that the individual in question would abuse such a courtesy,” AFP quotes the unnamed official as saying.

AU commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat granted Israel observer status in 2021, but this decision was queried, with Palestinians urging a rethink, and a committee was formed last year to look at the issue.

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