African Union's annual conference in Ethiopia
AU summit in Addis Ababa

A top Israeli ambassador was expelled from the African Union's annual conference in Ethiopia on Saturday, as a disagreement over Israel's membership in the organisation worsened.


The pictures indicate AU security agents approaching the ambassador at the summit's inauguration ceremony before she exited the auditorium.


The foreign ministry said, "Israel views severely the situation in which the deputy director for Africa, Ambassador Sharon Bar-Li, was evicted from the African Union hall notwithstanding her position as an authorized monitor with credentials."



Ebba Kalondo, the spokesman for the chairperson of the commission of the African Union, said that the diplomat was expelled because she was not the anticipated, legally authorized Israeli ambassador to Ethiopia.


Yet Israel accused South Africa and Algeria, two significant states in the 55-nation bloc, for the event, claiming they were keeping the AU ransom out of "hatred."


The Israeli Foreign Ministry said that the charge d'affaires of the Embassy of South Africa will be called for censure.


The ministry stated: "The effort to revoke Israel's diplomatic recognition has no validity in the foundation's regulations."


South Africa disputed the assertion, stating that the AU has not yet ruled on Israel's request for diplomatic recognition.


"Until the AU decides whether to award Israel associate membership, the country cannot sit and watch," said Clayson Monyela, director of public diplomacy in South Africa's department of foreign affairs, in an interview with Reuters.


That is not a matter of South Africa or Algeria, but of principle.


Historically, the South African governing party has been a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause.


The Algerian delegation to the meeting was unavailable to make a comment.

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