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Russian flagged Ro Ro ship Lady R transits Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey February 14, 2023. Photo :REUTERS/Yoruk Isik

Russian flagged Ro Ro ship Lady R transits Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey February 14, 2023. REUTERS/Yoruk Isik

US Unlikely To Sanction South Africa In Russia Weapons Dispute

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May 14, 2023

May 14 (Reuters) – South African Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said his country had resolved a dispute with the U.S. over allegations that Pretoria supplied weapons to Russia, and South Africa is unlikely to face U.S. repercussions, Bloomberg News reported Godongwana said in an interview on Sunday. 

“A number of actions were taken in order to ensure that our relationship with the US remains and that relationship should be normal and cordial,” the minister told Bloomberg in an interview in Cape Town on Sunday. “The Americans are not likely to respond with any anger tomorrow.”

U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Reuben Brigety said last week he was confident that a Russian ship had picked up weapons in South Africa in December, in a possible breach of Pretoria’s declared neutrality in the Ukraine conflict.

Related Article: US Envoy Says Russian Ship Picked up Arms in South Africa

South Africa’s government denied the claims. After a meeting between Brigety and South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor on Friday, the ambassador “admitted that he crossed the line and apologized unreservedly,” a South African government statement said on Friday.

A finance ministry statement on Saturday said, “Action was taken long ago once this matter was brought to the attention of South African officials” when U.S. Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen met with Godongwana in February.

When asked for comment, the U.S. State Department referred to a tweet by Brigety on Friday that said he had corrected “any misimpressions left by my public remarks.”

South Africa’s Finance Ministry did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

(Reporting by Urvi Dugar and Promit Mukherje in Bengaluru; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

 (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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