BRICS Meeting in South Africa Grapples with Putin Visit Amid Ukraine Conflict

…By Roland Peterson for TDPel Media. South Africa hosted a BRICS meeting in Cape Town, where top diplomats from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa gathered to discuss the bloc’s aim of offering an alternative to the western-led global order.

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However, the spotlight was stolen by speculations about a potential visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin, amid an ICC arrest warrant issued against him.

This issue dominated the discussions throughout the week.

South Africa’s Diplomatic Dilemma

South Africa, being a member of the ICC and having significant trade and economic ties with the United States and Europe, faces a diplomatic dilemma regarding Putin’s potential visit.

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If he sets foot in the country, South Africa would be expected to arrest him.

Consequently, ministers avoided addressing the Putin situation during the initial day of discussions.

Shifting Focus and Broadening Participation

In an attempt to divert attention from Putin and the Ukraine conflict, South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor emphasized the collective representation of the participating countries, highlighting their significant share of the world’s territory, population, and economy.

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Representatives from other nations, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and Kazakhstan, also attended the meeting in person or virtually as part of a “Friends of BRICS” session.

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Furthermore, numerous countries expressed their interest in joining the bloc, which was welcomed by BRICS ministers.

Addressing Global Challenges

Pandor stressed the need for a plan of action to address global challenges both within member countries and worldwide.

She emphasized that a conflict in one part of the world should not overshadow the ambition of eradicating global poverty, alluding to the war in Ukraine.

The invasion by Russia has caused a surge in food and energy prices globally, aggravating food insecurity in impoverished nations.

Pandor criticized western nations for faltering in cooperation due to their attention and resources being diverted by the war, leading to the neglect of the impoverished and the engagement of great powers in global conflicts.

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In conclusion, South Africa attempted to shift attention away from the Ukraine conflict during the BRICS meeting by focusing on the bloc’s collective representation and addressing global challenges.

The speculation surrounding Putin’s potential visit posed a diplomatic challenge for South Africa, which had to carefully navigate its obligations as an ICC member and its trade relations.

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