The President of South Africa has announced that, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin has agreed to rather participate in the upcoming BRICS summit in South Africa via online, than attending in person.
This development comes in the wake of criticisms against the South African government’s position to welcome the presence of the Russian Premier to the BRICS summit, amid ICC arrest warrant against him.
According to the office of the President, a “mutual agreement” was reached between Moscow and Johannesburg concerning the attendance of Mr. Putin over the upcoming BRICS summit in South Africa.
The announcement concludes months of rumors regarding the Russian leader travel plans to South Africa. However, South Africa happens to be a signatory to the Rome Convention that established the International Criminal Court, and is mandated to detain the Vladimir Putin, if he makes an appearance in the country.
In order to sidestep the issue, South Africa made it clear that, it intends not detain Putin if he decides to attend the summit, but it had also been pleading with Putin backdoors to participate via online to avoid tensions.
According to South Africa, the Russian president was resolved to attend the summit. This may have been done in an effort to contest the ICC warrant, which Moscow has rejected.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman of the Kremlin stated that, Putin “has decided to take part” in the summit through video conference. He neither confirmed nor denied that, the President aimed to attend the summit.
Meanwhile, the BRICS alliance has been promoted by Moscow as a counterweight to the West’s hegemony. However, this year’s summit comes with challenges against Vladimir Putin in light of the ICC’s decision to investigate him for war crimes in connection with the kidnapping and transferring of Ukrainian children to Russia territories in March.
Since ICC’s arrest warrant, Putin has not visited any nation that have ratified the ICC treaty, notwithstanding Moscow’s rejection of the warrant.
In an effort to force the administration to detain Putin should he enter the nation, South Africa’s major opposition party filed a lawsuit against the government. Additionally, the ICC Charter has been incorporated into the South African constitution, meaning any violations by the administration, would attract legal action against it.
Moreover, the office of the President revealed that, President Ramaphosa had conversations with the Russian leader on phone, and also had additional discussions with other BRICS representatives. The office has disclosed that, Sergey Lavrov, the Foreign Minister of Russia will be attending the summit as a representative of the Kremlin.
Cyril Ramaphosa declared earlier that, arresting Vladimir Putin would be viewed as a “declaration of war” by Russia, following a court order that demands Putin’s arrest if he steps into South Africa.
“I must highlight, for the sake of transparency, that South Africa has obvious problems with executing a request to arrest and surrender President Putin. Russia has made it clear that arresting its sitting president would be a declaration of war.”Cyril Ramaphosa, President South Africa.
On the other hand, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied speculations surrounding Putin’s attendance to the BRICS summit in South Africa.
“No one has indicated anything to anyone. In this world, it is absolutely clear to everyone what an attempt to encroach on the head of the Russian state means. So there is no need to explain anything to anyone here.”Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin Spokesperson.
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