Missed handshake at Africa summit has awkward Sofagate echo – Reuters

It (nearly) happened again. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen found herself in the awkward position of being almost ignored by a dignitary attending the EU’s flagship Africa summit.

the incidentin which Ugandan Foreign Minister Jeje Odongo appeared to walk past von der Leyen with only a light acknowledgment and no handshake during a photo op, had uncomfortable parallels with a breach of diplomatic protocol in Turkey the last year, known as “Sofagate”.

On this occasion, European Council President Charles Michel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sat next to each other in armchairs while von der Leyen was relegated to a sofa. “It happened because I am a woman,” von der Leyen later said. Michel acknowledged that he may have made a mistake and regretted the situation.

During the Africa Summit meeting, Odongo walked around von der Leyen before shaking hands with Michel and French President Emmanuel Macron. He then took his place between von der Leyen and Michel for a group photo.

This time the misstep was partially averted when Macron stepped in and told Odongo he might want to say hello to the Commission President.


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