President Cyril Ramaphosa has confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the BRICS summit here in South Africa next month, but the Russian Federation will be represented by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
According to the Presidency, it was mutually agreed upon that Putin would not travel to South Africa.
In court documents released on Tuesday, Ramaphosa said that if South Africa was to comply with a warrant from the International Criminal Court to arrest Putin for alleged war crimes, it would have been as if to declare war on Russia.
Ramaphosa’s answering affidavit to the DA’s case became public after the Gauteng High Court ruled that the government must publicly and transparently argue its case around its position regarding Putin’s arrest warrant.
DA leader John Steenhuisen labelled Ramaphosa’s argument as ”flimsy.”
Deploying flimsy arguments which allege that the Russian Federation would declare war on South African should we arrest Vladimir Putin, are little more than strawman arguments when the Constitutional principle and both domestic and international law make the merits of this case crystal clear.
But with Putin now not attending the BRICS Summit, South Africa has avoided a diplomatic nightmare at best, and an international crisis, at worst.
In a statement, Ramaphosa also confirmed South Africa’s readiness to host the 15th Summit of BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
It will be the first BRICS Summit to be hosted in person since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent global restrictions.
Ramaphosa has in recent months and weeks held a number of consultations on the hosting of the Summit.
He has expressed his confidence that the Summit will be a success and he’s called on South Africans to extend the necessary hospitality to the many delegates who will arrive from various parts of the continent and the globe.
The BRICS Summit is expected to be held between 22 and 24 August at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.