US: Dlamini-Zuma spy cable claims ‘absolutely ridiculous’

2015-02-25 17:26

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The United States has rubbished claims in recently leaked intelligence documents that it opposed African Union commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s bid for the position in 2012.

Speaking at a press conference broadcast live across the continent, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the claims contained in the leaked intelligence documents, obtained by Al Jazeera, were “absolutely ridiculous”.

She said the US worked with the AU and with Dlamini-Zuma, and this partnership was growing.

“I don’t know where those claims come from,” she said.

According to the documents, the US was one of those who “also played a significant behind-the-scenes role in campaigning” against Dlamini-Zuma’s campaign, which saw South Africa campaigning hard.

She faced opposition from francophone countries as well as from Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia. The leaked cables also allege former French ambassador Jean-Christopher Belliard had “tirelessly campaigned against the candidature of Dr Dlamini-Zuma”.

The documents also claimed she faced an assassination threat which originated in Sudan, and that South African and Ethiopian intelligence agencies were unprepared for this.

Thomas-Greenfield said the AU summit she attended last month was her fourth one, and she commended efforts by the AU to fight Boko Haram in Nigeria and she was pleased with the session on Ebola.

She said the summit theme – women in development – was an issue that mattered a lot to the US.

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