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Maimane criticises Dirco for downgrading diplomatic relations with Israel

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said that he wants a two-state solution to be reached between Palestine and Israel and that this can’t be reached if decisions like the one made by Dirco continue elsewhere.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane at the launch of the DA election manifesto.

SANDTON – Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane has criticised the government's decision not to replace its ambassador to Israel and reduce South Africa's presence in that country to a liaison office.

Maimane made the comment while addressing the Jewish community at the Sandton Shul on Sunday.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) announced last week that it would continue to downgrade diplomatic relations with Israel after withdrawing the ambassador a year ago.

Maimane said that he wants a two-state solution to be reached between Palestine and Israel.

He said that this can’t be reached if decisions like the one made by Dirco continue elsewhere.

“I believe the solution between Israel and Palestine must be one of a two-state solution and therefore, it is unthinkable to me why the South African government would move ahead with the removal of the ambassador in Israel. I think frankly, it is not the way we must operate in the diplomatic world, it is certainly not the way for us to lean towards a two-state solution.”

The leader of the opposition said that his party’s foreign policy is based on human rights and freedom for all.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)