South Africa has come out in support of the African Union call to shun the European Union-Africa Summit in Brussels this week.
The countries are of the view that European Union is dictating the composition of Africa's delegation.
There are some controversial inclusions and omissions. President Jacob Zuma has joined leaders like Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe boycotting the summit. Pretoria will be represented on a ministerial level.
The European Union-Africa summit is a gathering of 90 countries from two continents attended by 65 heads of states and government.
On the agenda is trade and political relations but there will be some notable absentees.
“I think that time must pass wherein we are looked as subjects, we are told who must come, who must not come, we have not attempted to decide when we meet Europe; who must come and who must not come. It is wrong and causes this unnecessary unpleasantness. I thought the AU and EU are equal organisations representing two continents but there is not a single one of them who must decide for others,” says President Jacob Zuma.
Eritrea has been barred from attending because of its human rights record. The SADR, also known as Western Sahara is also excluded because of its territorial dispute with Morocco, which is not an AU member.
Sudan was invited, but it’s President, Omar al-Bashir shunned the event. He is wanted by the ICC for human rights atrocities.
Grace Mugabe was not granted a visa to travel with her husband and Egypt, which has been suspended from the AU, got the nod.
Analysts say that the continent should decide on its own delegates.
"The position of the African Union is that it should be up to the African Union rather than the European Union to decide which African leaders are accepted or not .
It seems SA is taking a stand to say you have no right to exclude particular African leaders," says Political Analyst Steven Friedman.
Friedman adds that the diplomatic gesture will have no bearing on trade relations between South Africa and the EU, Pretoria’s biggest trading partner.
The EU finds itself in the midst of another diplomatic wrangle. It signed an agreement with Ukraine forging closer economic ties, in a show of support following Russia's annexation of Crimea.