South Africa’s presidency announced on Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the BRICS summit scheduled for August in South Africa. Instead, Russia will be represented by its Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, while the leaders of Brazil, India, China, and South Africa will be in attendance.
The decision was said to be reached “by mutual agreement” between the two countries.
Putin’s potential attendance had raised a diplomatic quandary for South Africa as he is under an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC) over allegations of war crimes linked to the conflict in Ukraine.
As an ICC member, South Africa would be obligated to arrest Putin should he personally participate in the summit.
In response, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa reportedly sought permission from the ICC not to arrest Putin, stating that doing so would be tantamount to declaring war.
The Kremlin, in turn, responded on Wednesday, denying that Russia had conveyed any such notion to South Africa.
South Africa’s stance on the matter has been one of neutrality, refusing to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and instead advocating for dialogue.
However, this stance has drawn criticism from Western nations, which have raised concerns about South Africa’s proximity to Moscow.
The absence of Putin at the BRICS summit will likely alleviate the diplomatic dilemma faced by the host nation and allow for discussions to proceed smoothly among the participating countries.
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