THE South Africa announced today that the country’s foreign minister spoke by phone with the leader of Hamas regarding the provision of humanitarian aid to Gaza and other Palestinian territories, denying reports that he expressed support for the organization in its war with Israel.

Minister Naledi Pandor has received a request to contact Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) said, responding as part of South Africa’s willingness to talk to all sides to facilitate dialogue. .

Local newspaper News24 reported earlier that Hamas announced it had received a phone call of support from South Africa’s foreign minister, without naming Pandor.

“We do not have bilateral relations with Hamas. Support for the Palestinian struggle against the occupation is not equivalent to support for Hamas,” clarified a representative of President Cyril Ramaphosa, Vincent Maguenia, in a post on the X platform.

South Africa has long advocated for peace in the Middle East and compared the Palestinian struggle to its own during apartheid that ended in 1994.