An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman called the incident “serious” and noted that Bar-Lee was “an authorized observer with an access card”, an allegation refuted by an EU official.
“It is sad to see the African Union held hostage by a small number of extremist countries like Algeria and South Africa, led by hatred and controlled by Iran,” he added.
The spokesman added that African countries should “oppose these actions that harm the African Union and the entire continent”.
An African Union official told AFP the diplomat who was “asked to leave” had not received an invitation to attend the meeting and had extended a non-transferable invitation to the Israeli ambassador to the African Union , Alili Admasu.
“It is a pity that the person concerned abused” this gesture, he added.
Responding to a question about Israel’s allegations against South Africa and Algeria of being behind the incident, Vincent Magwenya, spokesman for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, told AFP during the summit: “It must provide prove to prove his allegations”.
Israel was granted observer status in the African Union in 2021 after decades of diplomatic efforts, prompting protests from influential members of the bloc such as South Africa and Algeria, who said it contradicted African Union positions in support of the Palestinians .
Last year, there was a state of discontent over Israel’s accreditation as an observer in the African Union, with Palestinians calling for accreditation to be withdrawn.
The 2022 summit suspended a discussion on whether to withdraw accreditation from Israel and formed a committee to study the matter.
The controversy began when Musa Faki Mahamat, chairman of the African Union Commission, agreed to accredit Israel as an observer, which sparked a dispute within this body, which values the importance of consensus.
The African Union did not say whether Israel’s observer status would be discussed at the summit quest’year.
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