“Moreover, the government of Botswana maintains that the continued occupation of Palestine by the State of Israel goes against the letter and spirit of the Constitutive Act of the African Union.”

Botswana has rejected the African Union’s decision to grant observer status to Israel.

The government of Botswana said on Monday the unilateral decision by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission to receive credentials from the Ambassador of Israel is “concerning.”

In a statement, Botswana’s Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation stated that the issue is a “sensitive matter” that should have been brought to the attention of all AU Member States before a decision was reached.

This is also because of the longstanding conflict between Israel and Palestine, the statement read.

“Moreover, the government of Botswana maintains that the continued occupation of Palestine by the State of Israel goes against the letter and spirit of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, as well as its obligation to respect and implement the respective Resolutions of the United Nations.”

The Southern African country reiterated its unwavering support and solidarity with the Palestinian Authority against Israeli occupation.

Israel attained observer status at the African Union (AU) on July 22, after nearly 20 diplomatic efforts.

It had previously held observer status at the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) but was long thwarted in its attempts to get it back after the OAU was disbanded in 2002 and replaced by the AU.

The formal establishment of Israel’s observer status with the AU will enable stronger cooperation between the two parties on various aspects, including the fight against the coronavirus and the prevention “of the spread of extremist terrorism” on the African continent, Israel’s foreign ministry said.

Moussa Faki, leader of the African Union Commission, stressed the AU’s position over the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict, reiterating the bloc’s stance that a two-state solution was “necessary for a peaceful co-existence.”

He emphasised that the path towards long-lasting peace and stability requires that the peace process and the solutions sought must not only be acceptable but must guarantee the rights of all parties.

Last Wednesday, South Africa’s government said it was “appalled” by the African Union Commission’s decision last week to grant Israel observer status in the African bloc.

South Africa said the “unjust and unwarranted” move was taken “unilaterally without consultations with its members.”

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