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Palestinian FM: Israel stopped South African minister's visit to Palestine

Israel has stopped a planned visit by South Africa's Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande to the Palestinian territories scheduled for later this month, the Anadolu Agency reported a senior Palestinian official as saying.

In a joint press conference with Nzimande in Jakarta, Indonesia, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Maliki said: "Israel is sending a clear message of racism to the summit's participants by frustrating minister Nzimande's visit to Palestine, which was scheduled for 25-28 April."

Al-Maliki pointed out that "the visit was planned for last year after the signing of a bilateral educational cooperation agreement between the two sides during President Mahmoud Abbas's visit to South Africa in November 2014."

"Israel's prevention policy against officials and international figures who sympathise with the Palestinian cause and their suffering under the Israeli occupation will not succeed in isolating the Palestinian people from the international community, but instead will increase the Palestinian leadership's political, diplomatic and media strength in the global struggle to end the occupation and establish an independent state," he explained.

Meanwhile, Nzimande said the Israeli authorities refused to give him a visa to enter the Palestinian territories for a six-day visit despite having completed all the necessary procedures.

"Israel is trying to punish me through this ban and the South African Communist Party for our moral standing by the Palestinian people's side in their struggle for freedom, justice and independence," he added.

There was no comment from Israeli authorities.

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