South Africa retreats from further action against excitable US ambassador

Reuben Brigety
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JOHANNESBURG – International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor has confirmed that no further action will be taken against the US ambassador for his allegations that South Africa supplied arms to Russia.

Pandor said she had called US Ambassador Reuben Brigety to her office in March after he went public with the allegations.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Judge Phineas Mojapelo to lead an inquiry into the matter.

Judge Mojapelo has six weeks to investigate the matter and will submit his report two weeks after the conclusion of the probe.

Defence Minister Thandi Modise also denied that South Africa gave Russia arms when Lady R docked in Simon’s Town last December.

The allegations had led to tensions between South Africa and the US.

Pandor had also spoken to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken after Brigety made the allegations.

Pandor said no further action would be taken against Brigety after he was summoned to her office.

“On 12 May 2023, the department dèmarched US ambassador Reuben E Brigety for a meeting with Minister Naledi Pandor, where the minister expressed South Africa’s deep disappointment and outrage about the manner in which ambassador Brigety had convened a press conference on 11 May 2023, and levelled allegations regarding the sale of ammunition by South Africa to Russia, via the US sanctioned Russian naval vessel, Lady R. The minister strongly condemned the actions of the ambassador, which were particularly distasteful, especially so soon after the visit to Washington by the Special Envoys appointed by President Ramaphosa. The envoys were well received by all US interlocutors and discussions were productive,” said Pandor.

Pandor was replying to a written parliamentary question from the EFF.

She said after their meeting Brigety said he was going to apologise for the matter.

She said even Ramaphosa said there was no evidence given to back up the claims by Brigety.

The inquiry was initiated before Brigety went public on the matter, said Pandor.

But no further action would be taken against Brigety after their meeting in Pretoria.

“Following the meeting between minister Pandor and US ambassador Brigety and the telecon with Secretary of State Blinken, as well as the subsequent meeting between the ANC and Brigety, wherein the latter reiterated his apology, it is not contemplated that any further steps will be taken with regard to his removal,” said Pandor.

Source: IOL