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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 July, 2003, 11:57 GMT 12:57 UK
US blocks military aid to South Africa
South African army
The government is studying the decision to cut off military aid
The US has suspended military aid to South Africa, according to the South African news agency, Sapa.

This follows a decision by the South African Government not to grant Americans immunity from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.

Other African countries affected include Niger, Mali and Benin.

Under a US law passed last year, military aid will be cut off from any state which failed to exempt American soldiers from ICC prosecution by 1 July.

The Bush administration is opposed to the new United Nations institution because it fears US personnel could be targeted for political reasons.

It is nothing to worry about
Henry Boshoss, South African Institute of Security Studies
The United States has suspended over $47m in military aid to 35 countries around the world.

But Mr Bush could grant waivers if it is in the national interest.

'Insignificant'

The US gives South Africa about $1m in military aid annually, according to the Pretoria-based South African Institute of Security Studies (SAISS).

"The decision is insignificant; it is nothing to worry about," Henry Boshoss of the SAISS told BBC News Online.

The announcement by the US State Department in Washington comes exactly a week before President George Bush's visit to South Africa.

President Bush, accompanied by his Secretary of State Colin Powell, is due to arrive in South Africa on 8 July for a two-day visit.

Immunity deals

South Africa is the only one of the five countries on the Mr Bush's itinerary to be blacklisted.

The other African countries to be visited by President Bush - Botswana, Uganda, Senegal and Nigeria - all retained military funding by signing immunity deals with the US.

The South African Foreign Ministry spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said the government was still studying the announcement.


SEE ALSO:
US blocks aid over ICC row
02 Jul 03  |  Americas
Mandela avoids Bush meeting
30 Jun 03  |  Africa
African protests at war on Iraq
21 Mar 03  |  Africa


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