Organizers of the summit have not received confirmation that South African President Jacob Zuma will boycott the conference. But the country’s ambassador to Lebanon and Syria, Sean Benfeldt, last week told a Palestinian delegation in Beirut that South Africa would not send a representative to the event, The Citizen reported.
Further, Benfeldt said South Africa will not support any attempts to normalize African relations with the “occupation state,” referring to Israel.
The Palestinian delegation that met with Benfeldt, representing an entity called the “Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad,” sent a letter to African governments in early August calling for them to boycott the conference.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was formally invited to the summit during a meeting in January with Togo’s Foreign Minister Robert Dussey.
Several African countries—including Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda—have reportedly expressed strong support for the conference, which will focus on security, counter-terrorism, economics and collaboration in the fields of agriculture, health, education and technology.