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.
- Cyril Ramaphosa said he began negotiating with Russian President Vladimir Putin a month ago.
- Putin will virtually participate and his foreign minister will virtually introduce him to the country.
- The Department of International Relations and Cooperation said on Thursday that the government had known since June that Putin would not attend the summit in person.
President Cyril Ramaphosa asked Russian President Vladimir Putin not to attend the BRICS summit, but he could not announce Putin’s non-attendance before receiving support from the Chinese and Indian heads of state.
Ramaphosa, in a supplementary affidavit filed in Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, said it was “controversial” that the Ministry of Defense continued its request to compel the government to declare whether it would enforce the ICC’s arrest warrant against Putin.
This came in the wake of the Russian president saying that he will not attend the Johannesburg summit next month.
Ramaphosa’s supplementary statement was made on Tuesday, ahead of Wednesday’s announcement that Putin would not attend “by mutual agreement.”
The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin in March for war crimes in Russia’s war with Ukraine that began in February last year.
In his affidavit, Ramaphosa said he first asked Putin not to attend the Ukraine-Russia peace summit on June 19, and the Russian leader said he would “apply his opinion” to the request.
Three days later, Ramaphosa added that he had met Brazilian President Lula da Silva at the Global Finance Compact Summit in Paris, France, and pressed South Africa’s position that Putin would not attend the BRICS summit, which is expected to run from August 22-24.
at this meeting [with Da Silva]However, the President of Brazil agreed that the preferred option was that President Putin would not attend [BRICS] Summit personally, had his support.
Ramaphosa said the formation of BRICS worked on “consensus” and approval should be sought and received from all five member states before a decision is taken.
“I believe that under the circumstances the DA’s application is moot and should be withdrawn,” he added.
On Thursday, News24 reported that the DA is moving forward with its application, despite Putin saying he will not attend.
The party’s leader, John Steinhausen, said he had requested a public order so that this saga would not be repeated.
[We] We believe we will continue the trial because we believe duty [the] The government needs confirmation and we want to set a precedent for any future situations like this that may be [arise].
On Thursday, a spokesman for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Clayson Monyella, said the government had known for a month that Putin would not actually attend the summit.
Monyela added that the delay was due to the settlement of diplomatic issues.
Ramaphosa has consulted the leaders of the BRICS member states of China, Russia and India.
The president told the court by Tuesday that the ministry had been unable to arrange a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Ramaphosa asked the court to keep his supplementary statement confidential so as not to jeopardize negotiations and efforts to seek consensus.
In a written affidavit before the court, the director-general of the ministry, Zain Dangor, said contact with the BRICS heads of state was “time consuming and difficult to arrange” due to the leaders’ schedules.
“Such consultations are always complex and there is nothing unique about the amount of work required to arrange them or the time it takes to conclude such discussions with five heads of state,” Dangor said, adding that the consultations were completed on Tuesday.
Putin will attend the summit physically and will be physically represented by his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov.
The presidency and Russia’s most important political party, United Russia, called the Russian leader’s decision reasonable.
Speaking at the briefing meeting, South African BRICS Sherpa Professor Anil Soklal said Ramaphosa had reached out to BRICS leaders regarding Putin’s visit.
The BRICS ambassador described the Russian president’s decision not to attend as a fundamental step that allowed the summit not to face threats of withdrawal, such as the G20 summit in Indonesia in 2022.
Other world leaders protested Putin’s participation in the summit, prompting him to actually participate.
Soklal said the Russian president’s decision not to attend showed “maturity” among the leaders to ensure the continuation of the summit without threats to withdraw as a mutual agreement by the participating leaders.
The agreement achieved the president exceptionally. This decision was not made between President Ramaphosa and President Putin.
“Over the past several months, our President has communicated with all BRICS leaders several times. BRICS is a consensus basis; President Putin’s absence from the summit affects all other leaders.
“This shows the maturity and strength of the alliance that enables us to come to a decision. Yes, President Putin understands the dilemma South Africa faces, and he does not want to jeopardize the summit and create problems for South Africa,” Soklal said.