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    South African Delegation Grounded in Warsaw Departs Poland for Pretoria

    The South African presidential delegation, previously stranded at Warsaw airport due to their decision to remain on board with their firearms, has finally left for Pretoria, South Africa.

    According to Anna Dermont, spokesperson for Chopin Airport, the plane departed for Pretoria in the Republic of South Africa as planned. Originally scheduled for 0900 hrs, the departure was delayed until 0945 hrs.

    The ordeal began on Thursday when the plane, carrying security agents from South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s team, was detained at Warsaw airport. The Polish Foreign Ministry issued a statement on June 15, explaining that the detention was a result of the delegation’s failure to comply with Poland’s standard entry procedures.

    The ministry highlighted the presence of hazardous materials on board, which lacked the necessary permission for import, as well as undisclosed individuals who had not been notified to Polish authorities.

    In their statement, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized their efforts to facilitate President Ramaphosa’s visit to Poland. Multiple consultative meetings were held, and officials maintained constant communication with the preparatory team from the South African President’s Office and the South African embassy in Warsaw. The South African delegation was informed of all the necessary formalities and required import permits for their entry into Poland.

    Anna Michalska, the spokesperson for the Polish Border Guard (SG), revealed that the delegation had chosen to remain on board voluntarily. She clarified that while the delegation possessed firearms without the appropriate import permits, they were permitted to disembark from the plane.

    Addressing accusations of racism, Stanisław Żaryn, a minister in the cabinet office, took to Twitter to dismiss such claims. He explained that the delegation’s decision to stay on board was solely due to their possession of firearms, for which they lacked permission to carry in Poland.

    Żaryn emphasized, “It is important to note that the passengers on the plane from South Africa did not have permits to possess weapons in Poland. They were not given permission to leave the plane with their firearms, so they chose to remain on board. Any accusations of racism in this matter are baseless.”

    Following his visit to Poland, President Ramaphosa continued his journey to Kyiv after meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda. The South African president had arrived in Poland on Thursday from Geneva before departing for his next destination.

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