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Johannesburg - The spat between South Africa and Egypt intensified on Tuesday as the South African government accused the military government in Cairo of misrepresenting South Africa’s offer to help resolve the crisis there.
Pretoria responded on Tuesday to Egypt’s sharp rejection of any South African involvement to try to end the increasingly bloody conflict between the Egyptian government and the Muslim Brotherhood supporters of president Mohamed Mursi who was toppled in a coup last month.
The government said although it had deliberately avoided responding to the statements issued by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs since the military coup, “the last statement in response to South Africa’s statement on the current political developments in Egypt that was issued on August 15, 2013, cannot go unchallenged”.
It said the statement would not help alleviate the political and security crisis in Egypt, “initiated by the removal of a democratically elected president through a military coup”.
It particularly criticised Egypt’s singling out of South Africa in its criticism, “despite the overwhelming international condemnation of the recent brutal repression of demonstrations by the Egyptian security forces that led to a tragic loss of lives”.
Pretoria also noted that its condemnation of the coup was a principled position based on the Constitutive Act of the AU, “where any unconstitutional change of government – whatever the premise – is specifically rejected”.
As a founding member of the AU, Egypt should respect the AU’s position, it added, noting that Egypt had always voted in favour of suspending other member states from the AU on the same basis and had worked with those states to restore constitutional government.
“Rather than attacking the integrity of the AU, Egypt should respect the AU processes and co-operate with the AU High Level Panel in support of a peaceful and inclusive transition and restoration of constitutional order in Egypt.”
Pretoria also said it had consistently stressed the need to find indigenous solutions for domestic challenges.
Independent Foreign Service