President Cyril Ramaphosa greets Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Konstantinovsky Palace in St. Petersburg as part of the African Peace Mission talks on June 17, 2023.
- By “mutual agreement”, Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the BRICS summit in South Africa next month.
- The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin in March, and South Africa, as a signatory to the Rome Statute, was obligated to comply with it.
- However, F.MForeign Minister Sergei Lavrov will attend the event instead.
A potential diplomatic crisis was averted after the presidency announced on Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not attend the BRICS summit in South Africa next month.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Putin in March for war crimes committed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
By law, South Africa, as a signatory to the Rome Statute, would be obligated to arrest him if he came into the country.
And in court papers filed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, he said he feared a “declaration of war” if Putin was arrested.
“It would be a reckless, unconstitutional and illegal exercise of the powers vested in the government to declare war with Russia by arresting President Putin,” Ramaphosa told the court.
“My government and I are constitutionally committed to protecting national sovereignty and the peace and security of the republic and its people,” he added.
On Wednesday, the presidency issued a statement on the preparations for the BRICS summit, scheduled for August 22-24, with Ramaphosa confirming South Africa’s readiness to host the event.
“President Ramaphosa has in recent months and weeks made a number of consultations about hosting the summit. The final consultations of the President in this regard took place last night, Tuesday, July 18, 2023, at the BRICS political party dialogue in Gauteng.
Leaders of Brazil, India, China and South Africa will attend the summit.
The statement continued:
By mutual agreement, Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the summit, but the Russian Federation will be represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sergey Lavrov.
The presidency said a comprehensive statement on the substantive issues to be addressed at the summit and other related foreign policy issues will be issued in due course.
“President Ramaphosa is confident that the summit will be a success and invites the nation to extend the necessary hospitality to the many delegates who will be arriving from different parts of the continent and the world.”
On Friday, in an interview with News24, Mshatel said the government was He tries to convince Putin not to comeHowever, her efforts did not bear fruit.
Machattel leads a committee set up by Ramaphosa to deal with Putin’s arrest.
“It’s a big dilemma for us. Of course, we can’t arrest him. It’s almost like you invite your friend over to your house, and then you arrest him. That’s why, for us, not having him come is the best solution,” Mshatel said.
“The Russians are not happy though. They want him to come,” he added.
Meanwhile, Ramaphosa and Putin had a phone discussion on Saturday, at Ramaphosa’s request.
The statements issued by the two presidents after the discussion did not include any mention of the arrest warrant.
“The President of South Africa informed Vladimir Putin about preparations for the next BRICS summit, which is scheduled to be held from August 22 to 24 in Johannesburg,” the Kremlin statement said.
Ramaphosa’s statement did not mention the upcoming summit at all.