Algeria has reportedly formed a bloc of African countries working to remove Israel’s new observer status in the African Union (AU). London-based media outlet the New Arab reported that the opposition bloc is composed of 14 members led by Algeria, including South Africa, Tunisia, Eritrea, Senegal, Tanzania, Niger, Comoros, Gabon, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Mali, and the Seychelles.
Botswana and Namibia have expressed opposition to Israel’s observer status, but have not officially joined the bloc.
Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra said granting Israel observer status is illegitimate because it was done without consulting other member states. Algeria, he said, will “not stand idly by in front of this step taken by Israel and the African Union without consulting the member states.”
“The African Union’s acceptance of Israel as an observer member aims to strike the stability of Algeria, which stands with Palestine and just causes,” he added.
Algeria is also pushing for an amendment to the AU charter that would prevent any country outside Africa itself from being granted special status, the outlet said. Lamamra is set to visit Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia, and Ethiopia to push Algeria’s initiative.
Israel announced last month it would receive observer status in the 55-member AU, after nearly 20 years outside the group.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said at the time, “This corrects the anomaly that has existed for almost two decades and is an important part of strengthening the fabric of Israel’s foreign relations. It will help us strengthen our activities on the African continent and with the member states of the organization.”
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