US welcomes finalisation of Lady R saga
The US Government appears eager to move on from the diplomatic fiasco caused by the Lady R accusations, saying yesterday that it appreciates the seriousness of the SA Government in investigating the claims.
According to a News24 report, US embassy spokesperson David Feldman said Washington appreciated President Cyril Ramaphosa's commitment to investigate claims that SA had armed Russia when the commercial cargo vessel, Lady R, docked in Simon's Town last December.
As previously reported, Ramaphosa on Sunday announced that the panel had not found any evidence of SA supplying arms to Russia, and that the mysterious docking of the vessel was for the delivery of equipment ordered by state arms procurer Armscor in 2018.
‘We will let South Africa speak for its panel's conclusion,’ Feldman said.
The findings by the panel, chaired by Judge Phineas Mojapelo, come almost four months after US ambassador to SA Reuben Brigety accused SA of providing arms to Russia during its invasion of Ukraine.
Brigety's accusations led to a diplomatic fallout between Pretoria and Washington and resulted in the tanking of the rand.
Diplomatically, Brigety's public accusations resulted in a stern rebuke from International Relations & Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor at the time.
ANC leaders and some senior Cabinet Ministers have called for Brigety to be recalled.
However, government insiders said Ramaphosa had not yet formally considered any action against Brigety, given the panel's findings.
It appears that the US does not want the Lady R fallout to hinder future relations between the two countries.
Feldman said: 'We ... look forward to advancing progress with our South African partners on our shared priorities, including trade, health and climate.'
South Africa is due to host the annual forum for the African Growth and Opportunity Act in November.
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