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Newsline: South Africa rejects accusations of U.S. ambassador

South African officials on Friday hit back at U.S. accusations that a sanctioned Russian ship had collected weapons from a naval base near Cape Town late last year, a move investors fear could lead Washington to impose sanctions. On Friday, a minister responsible for arms control and a foreign ministry spokesman said the country had not approved any arms shipment to Russia in December. “We didn’t approve any arms to Russia, … it wasn’t sanctioned or approved by us,” Communications Minister Mondli Gungubele, who chaired the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) when the alleged arms shipment to Russia took place, told 702 radio. (https://neuters.de/world/africa/south-african-minister-we-didnt-approve-any-arms-shipment-russia-2023-05-12/) The U.S. ambassador to South Africa said on Thursday he was confident that a Russian ship uploaded weapons from the Simon’s Town base in December, suggesting the incident was not in line with Pretoria’s stance of neutrality in the Ukraine conflict. Western diplomats were alarmed at South Africa carrying out naval exercises with Russia and China this year, and at the timing of a visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. South Africa is one of Russia’s most important allies on a continent.

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