South Africa expresses 'extreme displeasure' over U.S. allegations of arms sales to Russia

South Africa's foreign ministry called a meeting of the U.S. ambassador on Friday to express its "utter displeasure" at allegations that the country supplied Ukraine with war materiel to Russia.

South Africa's Department of International Relations and Cooperation said in a statement on Facebook that Ruben Bridgetty's comments were "mysterious and at odds with the mutually beneficial and friendly relationship that exists between the United States of America and South Africa".

Using a diplomatic term referring to a formal complaint, it added that Bridgetty, who had been ambassador since last year, had been "paraded".

The ministry did not directly deny Brigety's claim in a briefing to local reporters on Thursday that Washington was "confident" that the Russian cargo ship Lady R was loaded with weapons and ammunition from South Africa in December.

Brigety called that "simply unacceptable" and said he was "willing to bet on the accuracy of that claim."The Associated Press, following a meeting with South African Foreign Minister Naledi, said the Lady R was at a South African naval base when Brigitte suggested and had ties to a company that was sanctioned by the United States for the Russian government's efforts to transport weapons and support its war effort Pandol said on Twitter on Friday that he was "grateful" for the opportunity to "correct any misunderstandings left by my public statements."

In a separate statement Friday, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke with Pandor on Friday: "Secretary Blinken emphasized the importance of the U.S. strategic partnership with South Africa , and reaffirmed working together on shared priorities, including health, trade and energy," he said.

Clayson Monyela, South Africa's head of public diplomacy, insisted in a statement on Twitter on Saturday that Pretoria had not violated its declared neutrality in the Ukraine conflict.

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