By John Ikani
Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra has denounced an African Union decision to grant Israel an observer status as a “double mistake”.
The official said the decision of the membership will eventually result in the breakup of the regional organization.
“We were not the ones who initiated the granting of observer status to anyone,” Lamamra said in an interview with Radio France International and France 24 satellite channel in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, ahead of the opening of the 35th AU summit on Saturday (today).
“There is a double fault with this case,” he added.
Lamamra said, “The first mistake was to grant an observer status (to Israel) without conducting consultations with the AU member states, including Algeria,” the minister said, adding that the decision “was bad and should not have been taken.”
He noted that had “prior consultations taken place, the decision would not have been taken without a doubt.”
Lamamra added that the second mistake “was that there was a division among the member states on this issue and this was left without any attempt to correct it.”
“This is bad for the organization,” he said, warning that it “may jeopardize the solidarity that must exist between member states.”
It is not the first time that the North African country would be voicing opposition against the move as it had been vocal on the revocation several times last year.
What you should know
On July 22, Israel attained observer status at the AU after nearly 20 years of lobbying.
Israel previously held observer status in the predecessor Organization of African Unity until 2002, when the organization was disbanded and replaced by the AU.
Pro-Palestine language is typically featured in statements delivered at the AU’s annual summits.
Palestine already has observer status at the African Union.
Namibia joined South Africa and several continental civil society groups on July 29 to reject the African Union Commission’s decision to grant Israel observer status at the regional body.
“Granting observer status to an occupying power is contrary to the principles and objectives of the Constitutive Act of the African Union,” Penda Naanda, executive director of Namibia’s Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation, said in a statement.
Naanda said it was wrong to grant Israel observer status, particularly at a time when the regime is increasing its acts of oppression in total violation of international law and disregard for the human rights of the Palestinian people.