Namibia objects to Israel’s observer status at African Union

African Union's headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. /CFP Photo
African Union’s headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. /CFP Photo

Namibia’s government on Thursday expressed deep concern and disappointment that Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat received credentials from Israel’s ambassador, granting Israel observer status at the AU.

“Granting observer status to an occupying power is contrary to the principles and objectives of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, particularly at a time when the State of Israel is increasing its acts of oppression in total violation of international law and disregard for the human rights of the Palestinian people,” Penda Naanda, executive director of Namibia’s Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation, said in a statement.

“It is also contrary to the firm and solid commitment of the heads of state and government of the AU to support the Palestinian cause, as evidenced in the various declarations adopted at each ordinary session of the assembly. Namibia believes in the two states as a solution to the issues between the State of Israel and Palestine,” he said.

Therefore, Namibia disassociates itself from granting observer status to Israel, while the reason for Israel’s loss of the status remains unchanged, he said.

“Namibia maintains that Israel can only regain observer status at the AU on condition that it ceases to occupy Palestine, and grant its people the right to self-determination,” he said.

Meanwhile, Namibia reaffirms its unwavering support to and solidarity with the Palestinians against the Israeli occupation, and supports the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and independence with East Jerusalem as its capital, he said.

“In this regard, Namibia will officially submit its objection/reservation to the chairperson of the AU Commission, in due course,” he added.

Israel announced on July 22 that it had joined the AU as an observer state after being kept out for two decades, according to Israeli media.

Israel previously held observer status at the predecessor Organization of African Unity until 2002, when the organization was dissolved and became the AU.