US unlikely to sanction South Africa in Russia weapons dispute -Bloomberg News
(This May 14 story has been refiled to clarify comments were made at a press briefing, not in a statement, in paragraph 5)
(Reuters) - South African Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said his country had resolved a dispute with the U.S. over allegations that Pretoria supplied weapons to Russia, and South Africa is unlikely to face U.S. repercussions, Bloomberg News reported Godongwana said in an interview on Sunday.
"A number of actions were taken in order to ensure that our relationship with the US remains and that relationship should be normal and cordial," the minister told Bloomberg in an interview in Cape Town on Sunday. "The Americans are not likely to respond with any anger tomorrow."
U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Reuben Brigety said last week he was confident that a Russian ship had picked up weapons in South Africa in December, in a possible breach of Pretoria's declared neutrality in the Ukraine conflict.
South Africa's government denied the claims. After a meeting between Brigety and South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor on Friday, the ambassador "admitted that he crossed the line and apologised unreservedly," a South African government statement said on Friday.
Godongwana said at a press briefing on Saturday: "Action was taken long ago once this matter was brought to the attention of South African officials" when U.S. Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen met with Godongwana in February.
When asked for comment, the U.S. State Department referred to a tweet by Brigety on Friday that said he had corrected "any misimpressions left by my public remarks."
South Africa's Finance Ministry did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday.
(Reporting by Urvi Dugar in Bengaluru and Promit Mukherjee; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)