South Africa confirmed on June 29 that the upcoming BRICS summit will be held as proposed on August 22 to 24 in Johannesburg, putting to rest the uncertainty which arose after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
South Africa, being a signatory to the Rome Statute of the ICC, is duty-bound to execute the arrest warrant against Putin if he lands in the country.
The ICC had issued an arrest warrant against Putin in March over allegations of illegal deportation of children from Ukraine as well as other war crimes committed there. Putin has denied these allegations.
Reuters quoted South Africa’s Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor as saying that Putin has not yet confirmed whether he will attend the summit in person, and he may join in virtual mode.
South Africa has been pressured by the U.S. and other Western countries to abandon its stance of neutrality with respect to the war in Ukraine and abide by the sanctions imposed by them on Russia. The U.S. had also accused South Africa of supplying weapons to Russia. South Africa has denied the U.S. allegations and refused to take sides in the war, maintaining that economic and political relations with both the West and Russia are significant for the African nation.
In June, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa led an African delegation to both Ukraine and Russia to push for a negotiated settlement of the conflict.