SA regrets Israel’s decision to refuse Palestinian special Envoy permission to attend Inauguration of President-Elect Jacob Zuma

Pretoria- The South African Government expresses its regret at the decision of the Israeli government to refuse permission to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Special Envoy Abdul Rahim Mallouh to visit South Africa to join other world dignitaries to witness the inauguration of South Africa’s fourth democratically-elected President Jacob Zuma scheduled for Saturday 9 May at the Union Buildings, Pretoria.

Special Envoy Abdul Mallouh was granted a visa to visit South Africa last week by the South African Embassy in Tel Aviv to attend the inauguration ceremony. The Special Envoy was scheduled to travel to Jordan on Wednesday 7 May through the Israeli border where he would boarded a plane to Johannesburg. However permission to cross over to Jordan was refused by the Israeli government.

“South Africa regrets the decision of the Israeli government to deny the Special Envoy of Palestine a basic human right to travel to South Africa to join representatives of the world in witnessing the inauguration of our fourth democratically elected President, Jacob Zuma” said Minister Dlamini Zuma

“The Palestinian people like the rest of the world have a democratic right to join the peoples of the world in celebrating the consolidation of South Africa’s democracy – a celebration of our democratic values and system of governance- which is partly a consequence of the sacrifices of the peoples of the world” continued Minister Dlamini Zuma

“The decision of the Israeli government underlines once more the urgent need for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state co-existing side by side with the Israeli state within secure borders, that will among others allow the Palestinian people the right to determine their own destiny including the right to travel to destinations of their own choice” concluded Minister Dlamini Zuma

Minister Dlamini Zuma has in this regard also directed Foreign Affairs Deputy Director-General Ambassador Jerry Matjila to express South Africa’s regret at Israel’s decision to Israeli Ambassador based in Pretoria.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa at 082-990-4853

Department of Foreign Affairs
P/Bag X152
8 May 2009


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