US envoy summoned to Pretoria, Pandor to hold talks with Blinken over Russian ship fallout

South African International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor
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CAPE TOWN – Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor was to hold urgent talks with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Friday after a diplomatic fallout following comments by that country’s ambassador that South Africa sold arms to Russia.

US ambassador, Reuben Bridgety, had been summoned to Pretoria to meet with the Department of International Relations today.

International Relations spokesperson Clayson Monyela said the National Conventional Arms Control Committee has got no records of the sale of weapons to Russia in its war with Ukraine.

Bridgety alleged on Thursday that a Russian ship that docked in the Western Cape last December had loaded weapons destined for Ukraine.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in Parliament this week that a retired judge would lead an inquiry into the vessel that docked in the Western Cape.

Monyela said Pandor was due to hold talks with Blinken on Friday.

“Dirco will today demarche the US ambassador to South Africa following his remarks yesterday. We will issue a detailed statement after the meeting.

“Minister Naledi Pandor will also speak to her USA counterpart, Secretary Blinken, this afternoon,” said Monyela.

He added that they welcomed the investigation by Ramaphosa to be led by a retired judge.

However, there were no records from the NCACC that there were arms that were supplied to Russian when Lady R docked in December in Simon’s Town, Western Cape.

Opposition parties have called on the government to come clean on the matter.

They said South Africa would have to clarify if the allegations, as alleged by the US ambassador, were true or not.

Some analysts have already warned of a threat to the African Growth and Opportunity Act if there was a fallout between Washington and Pretoria.

They said South Africa could be removed from AGOA if the two countries do not reach an understanding.

Source: IOL