PA Embassy statement ‘unfair and inaccurate’
The DA, however, denied this‚ saying that it had a confirmed meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas but that the meeting had been cancelled at the last minute.
DA spokesman, Phumzile van Damme, said that the party had dealt directly with the office of President Abbas in setting up a meeting between him and Maimane.
“The DA… had informed South Africa’s Embassy in Ramallah of the meeting and had invited South Africa’s ambassador to join the meeting. This is incontrovertible,” she said.
According to the DA, the meeting was cancelled at the eleventh hour because of a scheduling conflict on Abbas’ side. The DA described the Palestinian Embassy statement as “unfortunate and inaccurate” on Monday.
The DA remains committed to a two-state solution, says Van Damme, “and believes South Africa should play a more constructive role in bringing both parties together to negotiate a peaceful deal.”
The party provided what it referred to as the full trail of correspondence and record of contact with President Abbas’ office‚ and the SA Embassy in Ramallah.
“We visited the Palestinian Territories‚ met with human rights activists‚ visited refugees in Ramallah‚ and met with leaders of the business community and investors who are building the new Palestine despite the ongoing conflict,” Van Damme said.
The DA confirmed that it had not informed the Palestinian Authority embassy in South Africa before the visit. “We were not required to do so as South Africans do not require visas in order to visit the region. We communicated directly with the President’s office‚” she said.
“However‚” added Van Damme, “it is revealing that the Embassy’s statement says that there was an instruction issued not to meet with the DA. We will certainly be following up with them to ascertain exactly who issued this instruction‚ as it was not conveyed to us at any point.”