According to South Africa’s foreign ministry, the US envoy “apologised unreservedly” for suggesting the country provided weapons to Russia.
Reuben Brigety claimed on Thursday that a Russian ship was loaded with weaponry and ammunition at Cape Town last December.
South Africa claims it has no record of an arms transaction, and President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for an investigation.
The White House national security spokesman refused to comment on the allegations on Friday.
John Kirby, however, emphasised that it was a “serious issue” and that the US had repeatedly requested that other nations refrain from backing Russia’s conflict in Ukraine.
After meeting with the foreign ministry, Mr. Brigety said on social media that he was “grateful for the opportunity to… correct any misimpressions left by my public remarks.”
He declared that he “re-affirmed the strong partnership between our two countries and the important agenda our presidents have given us” during the conversation.
South Africa could not be “bullied by the US,” a South African cabinet official criticised such “megaphone diplomacy.”
“It is the US which has sanctions against Russia… they must not drag us into their issues with Russia,” Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, a minister in the presidency, told public broadcaster SABC.
Her bullish comments followed a Kremlin statement saying President Vladmir Putin had spoken to his South African counterpart by phone and the two had agreed to deepen “mutually beneficial ties”.